Tuesday, September 27, 2005

It's Happening Downtown

Dan Stockman reports on the annual conference of the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns, which had outgrown the old Grand Wayne Center but is back now that it's been expanded.
Fort Wayne/Allen County Convention & Visitors Bureau officials estimate the conference is worth nearly $500,000 in economic growth for the city.

“This was a nice one just because it was one we lost before,” said Bob Lister, executive director of Grand Wayne Center. “It really gave us a chance to showcase the building here.”

IACT provides education and training to municipal officials and lobbies on behalf of Hoosier cities and towns; attendees on Monday visited seminars ranging from code enforcement to police and fire pensions to what tax withholding is appropriate on government employee paychecks.

Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman addressed the conference Monday, and Gov. Mitch Daniels will speak today.
And what conference on municipal government would be complete without a session on downtown revitalization?
Those who attended a workshop on downtown revitalization saw a litany of projects taking place in downtowns across the state, from 18 new businesses and $260,000 condos in downtown Warsaw to a $145,000 riverside amphitheater in Bluffton that needed only $25,000 in public money to Valparaiso, where the restaurant scene is exploding.

Tom Smith, president of the Fort Wayne City Council, left the seminar excited about the possibilities.

“All these other cities have got stuff I want,” said Smith, R-1st. “I’m impressed.”



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