FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A new term in office brings new opportunities for Mayor Tom Henry and the city of Fort Wayne
Days after his historic re-election to a fourth consecutive term, Henry sat down with WANE 15’s Angelica Robinson to reflect on accomplishments and look ahead to the future.
Perhaps Henry’s track record helped carry him to victory Tuesday night. During his victory speech, he touted the strides the city has made in downtown and riverfront development. Those remain a priority for Henry, however he has his sights set on other areas that need improvement.
Henry discussed a variety of issues he would like to focus on over the next four years: the community’s health, alternative energy, an arts campus and expanding the trails.
“It’s just a matter of expanding the tools we have and the knowledge base that we have and really trying to get our city to embrace things like our energy consumption, our health and other areas that I wish to address,” he said.
On the health front, Henry said he will consider smoking restrictions in outdoor public places like parks. He also supports the idea of raising the legal age to buy tobacco products and increasing taxes on them.
Infant mortality remains at the top of his list as Allen County ranks high for the number of infant deaths. Henry plans to meet with leaders at Parkview, Lutheran and I.U. Health to see what need to be done.
“We have too many babies dying before the age of one,” said Henry. “What is causing that? Is it lack of access to prenatal care? Is it the affordability of prenatal care that’s keeping young women from going to doctors?”
Henry said we have an obligation to future generations to look at alternative sources of energy. He said there is opportunity to put solar panels on top of several government-owned buildings and on land at the Fort Wayne International Airport.
“We have that ability, the technology is there, the knowledge is there,” he said. “We can use that money to decrease the amount of money that is being spent and ultimately the amount of money that we charge tax payers in order to take care of utilities for our city.”
Art has been popping up in our parks and alleys. Now, the mayor wants to take it a step further with an art campus. He is interested in placing that in the Friemann Square area.
“What I envision is some type of college atmosphere where a visitor to our community or a member of the community can go and be exposed to a number of arts offerings within our community without having to travel all over the city,” he said.
Henry said he wants to continue to expand the trail system, paving a way from Pokagon State Park to Wabash State Park.
“To me that would be a tremendous statement. Not only because our communities can work together to get that done,” he said. “But what a statement for our community in general that we believe in the value of trails.”