Funding Request For "The Landing" Raises Eyebrows In Council

Oct 9, 2018

City Council is expected to discuss a proposal seeking $1.4 million in streetscape improvements for “The Landing” development on Columbia Street this evening, and it has at least two members raising eyebrows.

In November 2017, Fort Wayne’s Legacy Committee approved $2.5 million in funding to Landing developer, the Model Group, Inc. Council members Russ Jehl and Paul Ensley, also members of the Legacy Committee, approved the request on the key condition that Model Group, Inc. or the City of Fort Wayne would not request additional public funding.

Jehl argues that public funding has already made up 70 percent of the Landing project, and that committing any more jeopardizes neighborhood improvements elsewhere. He says there are three solutions: either Model Group, Inc. ponies up more money for this portion of the project, or the City look into using TIF funding more appropriately.

“The third thing, and really the larger discussion I think, is good communication, transparent government and disclosing real costs to the Council and the public,” said Jehl.

While both members expressed their commitment to seeing the project through, Ensley added that just because money has already been spent doesn’t mean a project must go forward if additional funding can’t be secured.

Council will discuss the measure at Citizens Square this evening at 5:30 pm.