FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Two Fort Wayne City Council members on Wednesday announced a plan to move forward with an investigation into why the Economic Development Agreement with developers of Electric Works was terminated by the Redevelopment Commission in August.
Glynn Hines (At Large) and Tom Didier (3rd District) want information from Mayor Tom Henry and his administration as well as those Henry appointed to the Redevelopment Commission. City Council has requested information following the termination on August 3, but so far only Nancy Townsend, who was Redevelopment Director at the time of the vote, has agreed to discuss what she knows.
“Unfortunately the Mayor has chosen to send the Redevelopment Director down to discuss matters with us that should be handled by the Executive. Council has the fiduciary responsibility to ensure that the monies of the City of Fort Wayne are spent appropriately and we cannot do that if the person making the decisions will not talk to us. Therefore, we need to look into ways to compel him, and others connected to the termination of the EDA, to speak to us. Sending a subpoena seems to be the only way,” said Hines.
“Mayor Henry appreciates the passion and interest expressed at today’s event,” a statement from the mayor’s office read. “Mayor Henry has been and continues to be open to a solution regarding the redevelopment of the former GE campus. The Mayor and members of his leadership team are currently looking at multiple options and talking with business and community leaders to get feedback on possible next steps moving forward.”
Hines and Didier, as well as others, fear Do it Best Corp may decide to move its operations elsewhere if the Electric Works project doesn’t become a reality. Do it Best had committed to being the anchor development for the project which would occupy the former General Electric campus just south of downtown.
The two will introduce a resolution to Council on Tuesday, September 8 requesting the intention of Council to move forward with a formal investigation into the motivations and facts behind the EDA termination with the bill being discussed at a future Council meeting. However the resolution does not automatically compel anyone, but begins the investigation process.
“The Redevelopment Department and Corporation Counsel have been the point persons on the Electric Works effort and would be the representatives of the City Administration at any upcoming discussions at City Council,” the statement from the mayor’s office added. “The reasons for the termination of the economic development agreement were explained by the Redevelopment Department, Corporation Counsel, and Redevelopment Commission at the meeting of the Commission on Aug. 3. It will take some time to determine what happens next, but by working together there will be a development on the campus we can all be proud of.”