Allen County commissioners suggest CIB save Electric Works

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — The Allen County Commissioners are exploring a workaround solution that could restart the Electric Works project.

In a letter to the Capital Improvement Board dated Sept. 10, the Commissioners suggest the Allen County Capital Improvement Board financially support the project. The project was derailed more than a month ago when the city’s Redevelopment Commission canceled an agreement pledging public funds to the project.

“The best path forward is a new Economic Development Agreement (EDA) between the Capital Improvement Board (CIB) and RTM Ventures,” the Commissioners’ letter reads. “We ask that the CIB accept this request from us to expeditiously enter into an EDA with the developers, recommit the CIB funds, and move this project immediately to closing.”

The CIB oversees the disbursement of the Allen County Supplemental Food & Beverage Tax dollars.

The board met Thursday in executive session “for the purpose of discussing economic development projects,” but the exact topic and results have not been revealed. WANE 15 has reached out to James Cook, the CIB president, but we have not heard back.

At least one part of the letter faces disagreement.

“The funds approved by the County do remain committed, and we understand from City Council that their approvals of LIT, Legacy, and TIF also remain committed to the project should a new EDA be agreed upon,” the letter states.

That opinion is not shared by Mayor Tom Henry, whose office confirmed their opinion that all previous agreements for public money, especially Legacy Funds, died when the Redevelopment Commission pulled the plug in late July.

The letter also admits the role of CIB would expand, but “stays well within its statutory authority.” It also states that the “CIB may not have sufficient staffing to ensure that the project gets to closing.”

Commissioner Nelson Peters was unavailable for comment.

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