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$100,000 spent on downtown district

Annual report recaps progress of last year

– The Fort Wayne Urban Enterprise Association funded close to $100,000 in special projects and initiatives in the downtown district in 2012, its annual report says.

The association is a registered nonprofit and the governing body for the Urban Enterprise Zone, a special district along the southern edge of downtown where there are long lists of incentives for businesses that opt to locate there. The 4-square-mile zone roughly follows the Pennsylvania Central Railroad corridor.

In addition to property tax breaks to businesses within the zone, there are tax credits for hiring employees who live within the zone, there are tax credits for the employees, and tax credits for interest on loans and investments.

In 2012, the association’s budget was $215,000, largely financed by participation fees paid by the businesses receiving tax benefits from the zone, according to the report. The report was prepared by Councilman Geoff Paddock, D-5th, the City Council’s representative on the association’s 12-member board.

Nearly $100,000 was spent on infrastructure improvements, beautification projects, neighborhood association grants, graffiti-removal training for neighborhood leaders and scholarships to students who live in the zone, the report said. Among the projects was improving sidewalks along South Anthony Boulevard just south of Maumee Avenue, near Shepherd of the City Church.

The association also operates the Fort Wayne Urban Enterprise Center, a small-business incubator that can provide manufacturing, research and development, and office space at 1830 Wayne Trace.

Since 1984 when the association began operating, the report said, the tax incentives have brought in more than $600 million in business investments within the zone.