February 23, 2024 - Mayor Tom Henry today announced that Jonathan Leist will become the director of the City of Fort Wayne’s Community Development Division effective immediately.

Leist currently serves as deputy director of Redevelopment and will continue in that role for the time being. Leist joined the City of Fort Wayne in February 2021.

Leist takes over for Nancy Townsend who retired earlier this month following 33 years of service with the City of Fort Wayne in several leadership positions.

Since joining the City, Leist has been involved in a number of important projects and initiatives through public-private partnerships, including riverfront development, The Riverfront at Promenade Park, The Lofts at Headwaters Park, The Pontiac Street Market, The Pearl, The Ashberry, More Brewing, Google’s data center, Dreyer’s expansion, and Village Premier to name a few.

Leist has more than 20 years of professional experience in local government leadership positions. He served as the Solid Waste District Director of Huntington County, Indiana from 2003-2015 and the Town Manager of Culver, Indiana from 2015-2021.

His accomplishments include helping Culver and Marshall County receive Stellar Communities designation from the State of Indiana, resulting in over $20 million in grants to the respective communities. Leist was designated “40 under 40” by the South Bend Chamber of Commerce and awarded Culver’s Chamber’s “Business Person of the Year.”

Leist earned a Master of Public Administration from Indiana State University and a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Indiana University.

“Jonathan possesses the skill sets and leadership abilities that I was looking for to oversee such an important division,” said Mayor Henry. “Fort Wayne is leading the way in so many areas throughout the community and Jonathan will be at the forefront of helping to ensure that our positive momentum and investments continue.”

Mayor Henry and Deputy Mayor Karl Bandemer consulted with internal and external professionals to review applications to determine the most qualified person to lead Community Development into the future.

“I’m honored to be chosen to serve as director and lead a team of talented and dedicated employees who care deeply about Fort Wayne’s success,” said Leist. “I’m really excited about the current developments that we’re working on and the future opportunities that will come our way to help position us as a recognized leader in community growth.”