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Does the future of Electric Works affect other Fort Wayne Projects asking for Legacy Funds?

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) — Developers at Electric Works were present at Fort Wayne City Council’s meeting on Tuesday night.  While not many details or questions were answered about specific updates, they did seem to have a more positive outlook ahead of their projected November deadline for completion phase one of the project.

Developers told Fort Wayne’s NBC they are doubling down on their open letter which expressed concerns about the project saying it’s at a “critical point.”

RTM Ventures says they are committed to seeing Electric Works to the finish line saying Tuesday “Let’s get this done”.

In that open letter posted to the projects website in May, they said “there continues to be a small group of people in positions of influence and power, however, who are working aggressively to thwart the progress of this project and the potential of this community.”

Tuesday night, developers told us the community has sent their praises along with public backing from Mayor Tom Henry since their publishing their letter.

While the community’s support is something Electric Works’ developers say is needed, they also need help financially. Near the end of 2018, Fort Wayne City Council voted to hand over $10 million from the city’s Legacy Fund to Electric Works, money the developers say they needed up front to continue with the first phase of the project.

How much does the withdraw from the Legacy Fund affect other projects in the Fort?  That’s another question Fort Wayne City Council has debated as of late.  On Tuesday, they decided to mull it over even more.

Council voted 8-1 to approve what they call a Legacy Fund Study Committee.  The committee aims to help manage the projects available to receive money from the fund and clear up what instances would allow for the balance of the Legacy Fund to fall below $30 million, something city council has worked to avoid.

We’re told the fund sits at about $34 million currently and with a number of payments expected in the coming years, it could grow upwards to $50 million by 2025.  The $10 million city council approved for Electric Works, will likely drop the fund below the important $30 million balance.

The latest project in discussion to receive money from the Legacy Fund?  Science Central.

Last week, Fort Wayne City Council put talks about the proposed planetarium project on the back burner.  Science Central hopes to add $500,000 after a preliminary approval of Legacy Funds to their fundraising campaign for the $2 million project.  Now they continue to wait as investors of the project watch closely for a final vote from Fort Wayne City Council, whenever that may be.

The vast majority of city council thinks the idea of this study committee is a good one.  Councilman Michael Barranda says the committee should provide more clarity moving forward saying “The last thing we want to do is for a recommendation to come from the Legacy Committee and for us not to know what that recommendation means.”

6th District Councilman Glynn Hines represented the one opposing vote on Tuesday.  He worries the committee creates an extra step in the process and would slow down the approval of Legacy Fund money.

As Electric Works’ developers say they will stick to their goal of complete phase one by November, we’ll continue to track progress of the project and let you know if city council votes to approve Legacy Funds for Science Central’s planetarium project.

Donovan Klein

Executive Producer, Fort Wayne’s NBC

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