The Downtown North River Task Force today held its initial meeting to begin studying opportunities for the development of land just north of the city center and the St. Marys River. The area encompasses the OmniSource property north of the river and alongside its banks between North Harrison and Clinton streets.

Today'€™s session served as an organizational meeting and a review of the goals and objectives for the process.

“We are fortunate to have committed community leaders that are focused on finding the best possible uses to enhance the North River area as a gathering place for residents, visitors and businesses,” said Mayor Graham Richard. “We are working to retain and gain jobs and bring additional significant private investment to the heart of the city.”

The membership of the Task Force also was announced, as follows:
Rick Samek '€“ Co-Chair, Carson Boxberger    

Wendy Stein '€“ Co-Chair, Stein Advertising

Bill Bean '€“ Developer              

Cheri Becker '€“ Invent Tomorrow

Bill Brown '€“ Allen County Commissioner         

Carol Coen '€“ Fort Wayne Community Schools Board

Jim Cook '€“ Chase Bank

David Corcoran '€“ Identity Alliance

Pat Delaney '€“ Science Central

Tom Didier '€“ City Council

Quinton Dixie '€“ Redevelopment Commission

Julie Donnell '€“ Friends of the Parks

Ben Eisbart '€“ OmniSource

Scott Glaze '€“ Fort Wayne Metals

Tiffany Gooden '€“ Barnes & Thornburg

Josh Harper '€“ CM Sloan

Paula Hughes '€“ Allen County Council

Deb Leonard '€“ Fort Wayne Sports Corp.

Eleanor Marine '€“ Fort Wayne Resident

Tom Niezer '€“ Barrett & McNagny

Mike Packnett '€“ Parkview Health

Tim Pape '€“ City Council

Vince Robinson '€“ Convention and Visitors Bureau Board

Don Schenkel '€“ Tower Bank

Dennis Sutton '€“ Fort Wayne Sports Corp.

Andrew Thomas '€“ NAPA Auto Parts

Dick Waterfield '€“ Waterfield Mortgage

Don Willis '€“ FourthWave

Dan Wire '€“ River Advocate

The study is anticipated to include a comprehensive, inclusive community participation component. It will feature neighborhood input sessions, public brainstorming meetings and charettes, along with opportunities for online involvement. The neighborhood input sessions will be held in mid-May. Communitywide input meetings are slated for mid-June. Dates and times will be announced in the coming weeks.

A Downtown North River Task Force e-mail address and website are being constructed to allow the public to provide comment and learn more about possible plans for the area. The specific e-mail and website addresses will be announced soon.

The City has secured an option agreement with OmniSource for its 29 acres of land north of the St. Marys River, west of Clinton Street, south of the former YWCA property, and east of Harrison Street. This will provide the City with the flexibility to strategically plan for the future in the North River area.

Earlier this month, Mayor Graham Richard and Allen County Commissioner Bill Brown announced the creation of the task force.

Downtown BlueprintPlus recommended the establishment of a task force to explore the potential of this landmark district and the feasibility of various initiatives. Those include the development of a Youth Sports Complex; expansion of Lawton Park; re-establishment of a street grid; creation of a “Harrison Street North District;” and development of a mixed-use retail area at Clinton and Fourth streets. While all of these options may be considered, the goal of the task force will be to recommend the highest and best use of this property for the long-term benefit of the community.