Fort Wayne officials are offering a multimillion-dollar incentive they hope persuades more colleges and universities to create permanent campuses in the downtown area.
Using part of the Legacy Fort Wayne money, the Higher Education Opportunity Fund will provide up to $8 million to help colleges and universities establish facilities downtown or in certain surrounding neighborhoods.
Letters were recently sent to college and university presidents throughout Indiana and the surrounding region inviting them to submit potential projects to be funded, the mayor announced Monday.
The Legacy Fund was created from the money collected from the lease and sale of the city’s old electric utility, City Power & Light.
There is about $47 million on hand in the fund, with an additional $28 million anticipated from additional payments over the next 12 years.
The city is setting aside $30 million to be available for large projects in the future, Community Development Director John Urbahns said.
The process for the new opportunity fund has no deadline, and applications will be considered as they are submitted, Urbahns said.
The city’s money requires a three-to-one match by the applicant.
All applications must include proposals for capital expenses and a long-term commitment – listed as 20 to 30 years – to downtown or the central urban neighborhoods.
Some of the other criteria the city will consider include:
Emphasis on significantly increasing education and training opportunities in and around the city’s core business district.
A minimum project cost of $1 million with a maximum grant from the fund of $3 million.
Number of jobs created, both during construction and long-term.
Number of students regularly using the facility.
Whether the facility will serve as a catalyst for additional development.
The innovative nature of the project.
We know how critical education is to the future success of our city. Education will lead to a skilled workforce that has the ability to compete for jobs, Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry said. Innovative partnerships will help bring transformational change to our community.
Recent investments in downtown Fort Wayne include the purchase of the Scottish Rite Center and the Chamber Building by the University of Saint Francis and enhancements to Indiana Tech, including a new law school.
To start the application process contact Sharon Feasel, Higher Education Opportunity Fund manager, at 427-2107.
For more information visit www.legacyfortwayne.org.