Mayor Graham Richard today announced his support for the creation of a Regional Marketing Partnership for economic development. Mayor Richard made the announcement during his Report to the People speech at the Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce.

The Regional Marketing Partnership would accomplishment the following:

* Develop a strategic marketing plan with specific annual targets based on the region'€™s assets

* Implement a collaborative branding initiative

* Develop an internet marketing site

* Provide research support to consultants, companies and local economic development partners

* Provide proactive global marketing to capture domestic and international investment opportunities

The City of Fort Wayne has committed $125,000 per year for five years toward the creation of the marketing partnership. A Board of Directors, made up of public, private and economic development leaders, will be created to guide the marketing partnership. Performance measures will be put in place to demonstrate a return on investment.

“We must act now to be competitive in a global economy and flat world. Our regional partners will join Fort Wayne to market our region to the world to increase private investments and retain and gain jobs,” said Mayor Richard. “We can build on our assets such as the Fort Wayne International Airport, downtown and our colleges and universities. High performance, high trust partnerships will lead us toward the growth and development of a regional hub of economic activity.”

Mayor Richard also announced his support for discussions with regional partners to explore creating a Regional Development Authority for Northeast Indiana. In 2005, the Governor and the Indiana General Assembly created the Northwest Regional Development Authority. The authority would assist Northeast Indiana communities with infrastructure investments in support of economic development opportunities. The authority would be a public agency comprised of local and state government officials. The authority would have bonding authority, a revenue stream, taxing powers, and costs and benefits would be shared among authority members.

The Mayor'€™s next Report to the People will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday, February 15 to the Southwest Area Partnership at Canterbury High School, 3210 Smith Rd.