February 21, 2024 - Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry today delivered his 17th State of the City address. The theme for this year’s address was “Fort Wayne – Leading the Way.” The event was held at the Grand Wayne Center.

Highlights from Mayor Henry’s speech:

National recognition
In the past year, Fort Wayne has been named the 7th best run city in the country by WalletHub; the 5th most affordable city in the country by U.S. News & World Report; the 2nd top emerging housing market nationally by The Wall Street Journal and Realtor.com; and the 4th best city for job openings by Go Banking Rates to name a few.

Southeast Fort Wayne
Google has announced plans to build a new data center in the Adams Center Road area. Last year, the City and Parkview partnered to open the Pontiac Street Market, a full-service grocery store. Phase one of the Pontiac Streetscape project was completed and phase two will start this year. McKinnie Commons, a new park and public gathering space, is open. Village Premier, a mixed-income, neighborhood center development will complete phase one this year. Market-rate housing offerings at Roosevelt Reserves are under construction.

Public Works neighborhood investments
The City plans to invest nearly $50 million in neighborhood infrastructure enhancements in 2024. Work will include improvements to streets, roads, sidewalks, alleys, curbs, bridges, and trails. Since 2014, approximately $300 million of work has occurred in neighborhoods throughout Fort Wayne.

City Utilities neighborhood investments
Plans call for $135 million to be invested in neighborhood water, sewer, and stormwater improvements this year. City Utilities is protecting the environment, positioning Fort Wayne for future growth, preparing students for careers through internships, and being responsible stewards of ratepayer dollars.

There will be $3 million in capital improvements in parks across Fort Wayne this year. The nearly $24 million phase one of the Franke Park Renaissance will continue with a new entrance off Goshen Avenue and a year-round enclosed pavilion. Work will continue on the Foster Park Golf Course master plan, there will be new playground equipment at multiple parks, more street trees will be planted, and redevelopment efforts at Brewer and Packard parks will move forward.

Public safety
The Fort Wayne Police Department had a clearance rate of over 90% on homicides in 2023. The FWPD will have a recruit class in 2024 to keep the budgeted number of officers at 500. In addition, the drone as first responder program will expand, the launch of a traffic unit will be explored, as well as a study of the real time crime center implementation. The Fort Wayne Fire Department will have a recruit class in 2024 with the goal of maintaining staffing levels at 370 firefighters. The department will take possession of six new apparatus and begin the design of a new fire station 5 in Waynedale with the expectation of breaking ground in 2025. Both departments are also leading the way with the best equipment possible and new technology to help meet the needs of the public.

Continued downtown revitalization
Riverfront Phase 2B public open space construction will extend offerings to the north side of the St. Marys River between Ewing and Clinton streets with an extension of the tree canopy trail, river access points, amphitheater, and a boulder mound.

Work has started on More Brewing, the first private development on the North River property. This unique restaurant and brewpub is scheduled to open next year.

Construction on The Lofts at Headwaters Park continues and will feature apartments/townhomes, a parking garage, and office/retail space.

The Ashberry development, corporate headquarters for STAR Financial Bank, will open this year. The seven-story mixed-use project along Main Street will also feature commercial and retail space and public parking.

The Pearl is another mixed-use development. Plans include commercial and event space as well as housing. The expected completion date is the 4th quarter of this year.

Parkview Field celebrates its 15th anniversary this year. The ballpark and mixed-use offerings as part of the Harrison Square development have been the catalyst for many downtown successes.

Job growth/retention and private investment
Inside City of Fort Wayne limits in 2023, there were 184 new jobs created, 405 jobs retained, and a total private investment of more than $45 million. The average wage for these positions was over $80,000.

“It’s a great time to be in the City of Fort Wayne as we continue to experience unprecedented momentum and investments,” said Mayor Henry. “Fort Wayne is leading the way as every segment of our community is growing and thriving. As a result of a collective commitment to being the very best, the state of our city is strong.”