I attended the Legacy Fort Wayne Task Force meeting this week. They were trying to work out their final recommendations (they’ll need at least one more meeting).
The idea I had proposed (a fund for Tech and Arts ventures) either didn’t make the most recent cut – or was lost somewhere in the big omnibus “do a bunch of stuff” economic development item.
The theme of this meeting was, “It’s all about downtown.” The momentum is toward spending all Legacy money downtown, a concept being led by a friend of mine, Dave Corcoran.
- First, the task force collapsed the Arts category and the Riverfront category into the downtown category.
- Then, at the end of the meeting, Dave asked the group to collapse the Economic Development category into the others by agreeing to fund only that economic development that occurs either downtown (or for Youth Development, the third remaining category). The group couldn’t agree to that, and they tabled it for further discussion.
I applaud Dave for taking a bold position!
- Instead of doling out a bit of money to every proposal that came forward, he wants to concentrate the relatively small amount of money we have to work with ($80M IS small when you consider it is for a whole city) on something big enough and memorable enough to leave a legacy. Great idea. Whatever is done should be big enough to be visible as a legacy. Go for it!
- He wants to improve our downtown. I remember when our downtown was absolutely vibrant, and would love to see it brought back to life! We have some momentum there already. The arts district is both growing and improving. Calhoun / Wayne is coming alive. Broadway is more vibrant. Parkview Field is a draw. Let’s make it even better.
And while we are doing that, maybe we can hazz some financial support for an arts business incubator, perhaps with some venture funding for the arts businesses there? So we can create even more future goodness downtown. That would be so cool!