FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Specific projects to improve the city of Fort Wayne were named Thursday, made possible with more than $22 million in state funding.

A local income tax supplemental distribution from the state was announced in May. Proposed projects include investments in neighborhoods, infrastructure and the riverfront.


  • Pontiac Streetscape Phase II – $2.4 million
  • Neighborhood park playgrounds – $2 million – Lawton, McMillen, Kettler, Foster, Bob Arnold Northside, Tillman, Turpie Playlot, Kreager, Gren, and Boone
  • Pontiac Street Market – $500,000
  • Strategic property acquisition in southeast Fort Wayne – $500,000
  • Neighborhood street trees – $500,000
  • Neighborhood improvement grants – $300,000
  • Neighborhood Health Clinic sidewalk – $275,000
  • Irish Town common area landscaping as part of the Packard 2030 Plan – $100,000


  • Riverfront Phase II Tree Canopy Trail – $2 million
  • Strategic property acquisition – $2 million
  • Urban Trail – Superior Street – $1.875 million
  • Riverfront gateway and wayfinding signage – $1.5 million
  • Demolition of Pepsi property near the riverfront – $750,000
  • Headwaters Park splash pad – $300,000


  • Railroad overpass structural work and beautification – Harrison and Fairfield area – $2 million
  • LED streetlights – $2 million
  • I-69 overpass welcome signage – $750,000

Public safety salaries, as part of the requirement through the local income tax supplemental distribution, are planned for $2.1 million.

The mayor’s administration is working with city council to bring the planned initiatives to fruition, the release said.

Some councilmembers, like Geoff Paddock, believe the mayor’s office is doing a good job to accomplish important projects.

“What I’ve seen I’ve liked very much, and I’m hoping other council members will as well,” Paddock said. “I think the mayor and the city controller sat down and looked at this, and they are really spreading this out fairly across the city.”

But not all councilmembers are as thrilled with how the proposed money may be dolled out.

Following the announcement, Fort Wayne City Councilman and mayoral candidate Tom Didier issued a statement expressing his concerns over how the funding is being used.

There have been no conversations between the administration and city council to work on identifying priorities for the projects Mayor Henry proposes funding with the additional tax rebates. I’m frustrated because we never get asked for input on these matters, but we always get asked to pay the bill.

I support the progress we have made downtown, but these rebates were from taxes paid by everyone and the city needs to do a better job to make sure all of its residents benefit from these funds. When these funds were announced in May, the mayor said, “We’ve decided on some focus areas that we feel are truly areas that the citizens of Fort Wayne have been asking for, and wishing, and in some cases dreaming about, for a number of years.”

The areas he mentioned at the announcement were neighborhoods, neighborhood parks and improvements to the general park systems along with community development and energy and environmental concerns. I don’t see those priorities reflected in his proposal. What I didn’t hear in that announcement was downtown and riverfront development, and that represents roughly half of the spending in this proposal.

Fort Wayne residents are ready to see real investment in their neighborhoods and honest efforts to engage neighborhood leaders. This proposal reads more like a wish list of projects and not like an effort to collaborate for a brighter future for our city.

Fort Wayne City Councilman and mayoral candidate Tom Didier

Didier emphasized to WANE 15 that the process should be about teamwork between the mayor and council.

The additional appropriation ordinances and projects are scheduled to be discussed at the city council meeting Tuesday, Aug. 8.