Fort Wayne is the hub of northeast Indiana’s economic engine. Attracting and retaining talent will grow jobs, wages and the economy for the entire 11 county region, which has an estimated combined population of 789,000.
In addition to the 11 county region, Fort Wayne’s sphere of influence includes a 60-mile radius, reaching Elkhart, Indiana; Lima, Ohio; and Muncie, Indiana.
Within this radius are 1.4 million people, leaving Fort Wayne uniquely positioned to be a nationally-recognized economy and “Best In Class” city that attracts businesses, retains talent and raises the average wage. Fort Wayne is less than 200 miles from seven major cities—Chicago, Indianapolis, Louisville, Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland and Detroit—putting Fort Wayne in the middle of everywhere.
The community’s momentum is tangible thanks to major investments over the past 10 years. Parkview Field in 2009 resulted in $250 million of private investment around it in the six years following its completion and is still influencing investment, like the construction of the Ash Brokerage National Headquarters completed in June 2016.
Greater Fort Wayne (GFW) Inc., has introduced a 10-year vision for Fort Wayne and Allen County that focuses on five key projects that will support economic growth and private investment, and improve quality of place. It will impact not just the local community, but the surrounding counties and 60-mile radius as well.
The downtown arena allows Fort Wayne to attract mid-size concerts, sporting events and conventions year-round that may be either too small or too large for current area venues. This creates more activities that draw additional traffic and cause more regional entertainment dollars to be spent in Allen County. The GE Campus redevelopment will spark creativity, energy and start-ups that will drive investment throughout the region. Visitors from all over the state and beyond will be drawn to the Riverfront, The Landing and STEAM Park for entertainment and education.
“Each one of these projects will be regional in nature,” says Eric Doden, CEO of GFW Inc. “I fully anticipate that there will be people from Ohio, Michigan and the surrounding counties that will come at one point or another to enjoy these assets.”
In order to attract business, Fort Wayne and Allen County must be able to attract talent. To attract talent, investments must be made in quality of place projects like these, and the vision must be bold.
“We want to have a national identity of creativity, building and starting things, and being entrepreneurial, bold and courageous,” Doden says.
In order to be a nationally-recognized economy fueled by 21st century jobs, Fort Wayne has to be creative in executing bold vision that will strengthen Fort Wayne, Allen County, the 11 county region and the 1.4 million people who live, work and play within its 60-mile sphere of influence.
“With our current talent and industry base, this bold vision will propel us forward, improving our community for generations to come,” says Doden.