In a Wednesday, October 3 meeting with Indiana Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF) Commissioner Cheryl Musgrave, Allen County Commissioner Nelson Peters and Fort Wayne Mayor Graham Richard received the state's approval for the Harrison Square bond financing. The decision was the latest authorization in the multi-step public approval process for the downtown catalyst project.
The state's endorsement puts the City in a stronger position when selling the $45.9 million bond to finance Harrison Square. The general obligation backing is viewed as a form of credit enhancement by the bond market. This provision will enable the City to secure a lower interest rate and save significant money for the public over the life of the bond.
“Our ability to retain and gain good jobs, to attract the talent the new economy demands, requires a competitive city,” said Mayor Richard.
“Harrison Square sends a signal that Fort Wayne is one of those first-choice communities. The positive state decision puts us one step closer to the new jobs, new housing and new retail opportunities that will help to make our downtown more vibrant.”
In presenting the Harrison Square case to the DLGF, the City had to demonstrate its sound fiscal health and the sufficiency of revenue streams to successfully conclude the project without the need for the property tax support. In order to secure a favorable decision, the City had to establish that it would most likely never need these resources to repay the bond. In essence, the backup provision is interpreted by potential bond buyers as an added layer of protection, an indicator of a more desirable, credit-worthy project.
“I would like to express my appreciation to Commissioner Musgrave working on behalf of Governor Daniels for expediting the decision on this important economic development project for northeast Indiana,” added Richard.
Previously, the project's financing proposal had been affirmed by the Indiana Local Government Tax Control Board during its August 23 meeting. Other project approvals, including numerous public hearings, have come from the Fort Wayne City Council, Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission, Fort Wayne Plan Commission and the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Authority.