The City of Fort Wayne is hosting a Southeast Area Development Strategy event today and tomorrow to begin creating a guide for future growth focusing on housing and commercial redevelopment and new and infill development.

The strategy is a logical next step as part of the Plan-it Allen! process to develop a joint comprehensive land-use plan for the City and Allen County. The goal is to encourage sustainable growth, new jobs and businesses, and stronger neighborhoods.

Today'€™s program kicked off with positive news about the housing and retail markets in southeast Fort Wayne. Zimmerman/Volk Associates, Inc. recently completed a Southeast Housing Market Potential Study, which examined how the City and developers can work together to rebuild and revitalize urban core neighborhoods.

The housing study shows there is a demand and capacity for housing in southeast Fort Wayne. The study also outlines specific population, geographic and income examples that provide developers an opportunity to explore new forms of development to meet the demand. Forty-five neighborhoods were within the study area, which included Calhoun Street to the west, the St. Marys and Maumee rivers to the north, and the city limits to the east and south.

An example of positive housing plans is Renaissance Pointe, which calls for nearly 400 new homes and the rehabilitation of more than 100 existing homes in the area of Creighton Avenue, Pontiac Street, Hanna Street, and South Anthony Boulevard. The development is scheduled to begin this fall, with model units to be constructed in spring 2007.

The City'€™s Redevelopment Department reported on the 2004 Metro Edge Southeast Retail Market Study that shows southeast Fort Wayne has higher retail potential than typical zip codes in the Allen County area. Advantages for southeast include significant buying power and positive neighborhood trends.

The study also indicated that although the southeast quadrant has lower median income levels, its concentrated buying power is comparable to the other three quadrants in the City.

SE: $33.6 million          NE: $33.3 million          NW: $30.6 million        SW: $42.1 million

“There is positive action in southeast Fort Wayne,” said Mayor Graham Richard. “We are using innovative techniques to develop more housing and retail opportunities for residents. We look forward to continuing our work with investors, businesses, neighborhood leaders, churches, and schools to make the southeast quadrant the best it can be.”

From 5:30-8 p.m., a Community Forum will be held at Link'€™s Wonderland, 1711 E. Creighton Ave.Residents and business owners in southeast Fort Wayne are encouraged to attend to provide input on the Southeast Area Development Strategy. The session will be led by Curtis Davis, founder and principal of ReBuildit Collaborative in Boston. ReBuildit Collaborative provides strategic planning, design review and project support services for redevelopment projects across the country.

A Report on the Findings from the Community Forum will be presented from 3-4:30 p.m. Tuesday, August 29, at Link'€™s Wonderland.

The information gathered at the two-day event will be compiled and a final draft report will be presented to the southeast community before the end of the year before it would be presented to legislative bodies for approval.

A second, related event also will be held on August 29 immediately following the Report on the Findings from the Community Forum. The City is asking residents to provide input on the community'€™s priorities and goals for the 2007 allocations for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), Home Investment Partnership (HOME) and Emergency Shelter Grants (ESG). The City receives allocations from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

This meeting will be held from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Tuesday, August 29 at Link'€™s Wonderland. At the meeting, the City will also release request for proposals for the CDBG, HOME and ESG programs.