The Journal Gazette
Friday, July 16, 2021 1:00 am

$8 million in city spending OK'd

Money to be spent on public works, parks, health care

DEVAN FILCHAK | The Journal Gazette

The city can now move forward with nearly $8 million in public works, parks and health investments after the City Council's full approval.

Mayor Tom Henry was joined by city officials when he announced last month the plans for $7.78 million in investments “designed to continue to help move Fort Wayne forward in a positive direction.”

City administration and City Council worked collaboratively to plan how to use $7.2 million in local funds for capital projects that were deferred from 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and financial uncertainties, Henry said.

About $6 million of the local funds will be used for public works neighborhood projects and $1.2 million will start the first phase of Franke Park master plan. A $996,000 contract was also approved for the design of the first phase Tuesday.

“This marks an encouraging next step in our ongoing efforts to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Henry said in a statement. “We're making strides and each day gets better as we work together to engage, innovate, and perform to help individuals, families and businesses.”

Several public works neighborhood projects will be included in the $6 million investments: White Oak Lane street rehabilitation, Harvester Community concrete street repairs, Rothman Road sidewalk construction between St. Joseph and Maplecrest roads and Illinois Road sidewalk from Magnavox Way to Thomas Road.

Asphalt resurfacing, land acquisition for sidewalk projects. traffic safety projects, sidewalk rehabilitation and concrete alley reconstruction will also be part of the investments.

Steve McDaniels, director of the parks and recreation department, said Franke Park deserves the renaissance project, especially since it celebrates its 100th birthday this year.

“Isn't it fitting,” McDaniels asked the council Tuesday, “that we are looking to the future and the next 100 years?”

It is one of the most visited parks in the city. McDaniels added that it's the largest park in the city, and the project will provide a new experience for all of its visitors.

The approval also marked the first official uses of the city's $50.8 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds. Super Shots plans to use its $375,000 in ARPA money to expand health services and create a permanent location for operations.

The city is also using about $200,000 for an expert's help in overseeing how the remaining ARPA funds can be invested.

City Council members did not discuss the ordinance before unanimously approving it Tuesday, but Russ Jehl, R-2nd; Michelle Chambers, D-at-large; and Geoff Paddock represented the council when the investments were announced and shared their excitement.

Garry Morr, city controller, said he is pleased with the work done between city administration and City Council members.

“It shows we're committed to working together to get results that will help our community,” he said in a statement. “Having a strong focus on being good stewards of local funds and the new American Rescue Plan Act dollars has positioned Fort Wayne for current and future success.”

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