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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Here we go again

As much of this city as Gianni Longo is going to end up having shaped, maybe he should just move here:

City planner and consultant Gianni Longo returned to Fort Wayne on Thursday and presented a vision of what the 29-acre OmniSource site along the north side of the St. Marys River could become - a densely developed mixture of single-family houses, townhouses and apartments, small shops and restaurants, a boulevard inviting pedestrians to stroll, and a waterfront plaza descending to a river landing for small boats.

About 20 members of the North River Task Force present unanimously endorsed the plan. Without a dissenter among them, they voted to recommend that Fort Wayne purchase the land for $4.3 million.

With more discussion, they recommended seven more action steps before the city begins what Longo warned them would be a long and complicated development process.

“Let's be clear: This is a complex thing. It's going to take 12 years to get this done,” he said.

At least we know about this one ahead of time, but if they rush it through so it doesn't become a campaign issue, that doesn't matter much.

The point is not whether Harrison Square or North River are good ideas or bad ones, or whether something else would be more attractive or have a better or worse chance of succeeding. Let's be clear: There is a strong difference of opinion about how involved the city should be in economic development. We are no longer just arguing about Harrison Square. It is clear that the city has chosen the most activist role it can take, and this direction will continue as long as we have the same kind of people in office.

This is what elections are -- or at least should be -- about. Tom Henry and Matt Kelty have very different ideas about such activism. Henry favors, Kelty opposes. This is what we should be hearing debated. But the indictments of Kelty have kind of put everything else on the back burner.


A J Bogle
Wed, 08/29/2007 - 7:26am

What I see is a conflict between a progressive and forward thinking approach to reinvigorating our city, or the maintaining the status quo approach. Clearly waiting for the private sector to step in and revitalize downtown just isn't happening - in fact left to their own devices we are seeing businesses and industry leave the Fort. Without some sort of catalyst and facilitation from local govt, we will continue to see this trend. I may not agree with evertything they are doing to jumpstart downtown, but at leat they are doing [i]something[/i], which again leaving it up to the staus quo'ers and the private sector, we will continue to get nothing.