Fort Wayne has an option that they can exercise to purchase the Omnisource property by 12/31/07. A task force has been created to explore possible uses of the site. The Omnisource property is near the river and just north of downtown.
The Harrison Square "Catalyst" Project has been approved and construction will start this Fall.
I have a feeling that Fort Wayne will decide to buy the Omnisource property and then turn around and spend taxpayer dollars to prepare the site for development and then give it to a private developer...
That is my prediction and I am sticking with it.
I have a feeling I know one of the projects that will be strongly considered; a Riverfront Municipal District. There are quite a few of these in Indiana and some have been successful and others have not been successful.
I tend to oppose a Riverfront District for several reasons:
1. The main reason is because I think Fort Wayne would decide to issue more liquor licenses to "encourage" bars to open in the new district. Fort Wayne is currently 65 liquor licenses above the number allowed for a City of our size. This is mainly due to annexation.
2. This would be "Economic Re-arrangement" at its finest. Only so many people go to bars and a new "District" would just ensure that many bars in other parts of the city go out of business.
3. These Districts often use special taxing districts which I oppose.
4. Local bar owners are already under assault from the City Council. The smoking ban will most likely cause many small bars to go out of business. There is legislation under consideration in Indianapolis that would further damage local bar owners...
5. Local bar owners have paid a lot of money for their liquor licenses. If more licenses are issued then the existing holders of liquor licenses are"harmed."
I think that Fort Wayne needs to concentrate on maintaining and improving our infrastructure as well as dealing with both the Combined Sewer Overflow problem and the Pension shortfall...
I tend to think we should let private developers buy and develop property on their own...