Fort Wayne Legacy Money Awarded To Two Organizations
Two projects seeking Fort Wayne’s Legacy dollars that were either delayed or shelved due to concerns over the fund’s status will receive some money after all.
During City Council’s final meeting of 2019 -- and before the newly-elected body takes over for the next four years -- $700,000 were committed between Science Central and the Questa Foundation.
The lion’s share of that comes in the form of $500,000 for Science Central’s effort to build a planetarium on its premises. It initially made its Legacy proposal 13 months ago, but was set aside numerous times as various factors related to the Legacy Fund were sorted out.
Science Central president Martin Fisher says it could be a significant financial driver for the city of Fort Wayne.
“It would give us the only planetarium in the midwest outside of Chicago, which we expect would bring a lot of visitors and move a lot of money through the city,” Fisher said.
Council approved funding for Science Central 7-2.
Questa received $200,000 -- a far cry from the $800,000 it wanted over four years as it had been funded through Legacy before, but still enough to help them support financial commitments and scholarships dependent on that money through 2020.
The Questa Foundation provides financial assistance via low-interest loans to students in northeast Indiana to attend approved schools within the state. The loans can be forgiven up to 50 percent upon work within northeast Indiana upon graduation.
This funding was proposed by at-large Republican John Crawford, serving his final day as a member of Council. He only proposed it for only the next year to allow Council and the administration to determine how to fund Questa in the near future.
“I feel at this point it wouldn't be necessarily fair to bind the next council into doing $200,000 a year for four years,” Crawford said.
Three students going through school with the help of Questa scholarships spoke to the professional and educational opportunities that funding has presented them, and how it motivates them to want to seek post-college work in Fort Wayne.
The Questa funding for 2020 was approved on a 6-2 vote.