During the Part 2, we will discuss the use of place in Fort Wayne, IN.
In visiting Promenade Park, it reminded me of something that I learned from Maggie Kuhn, which was for any place to attract and more importantly retain people, it must give them at least 10 things to do at that location. From water based events, various games, lighting, food, concerts, pavillions, etc, it was evident that the organizers and builders of the Park put this thought into place.
Electric Works was the most impressive site because of the sheer size of the project. This two phase $220M mixed use development of a closed General Electric plant will offer tremendous opportunity for redevelopment and planned uses include residential, office, business incubation, food hall and healthcare.
Walking through the site was an experience that brought me back to the struggles of the 30th Street Industrial Corridor in Milwaukee, WI and how these old buildings can be converted from vacant properties into meaningful developments. The development group is currently seeking investment for working capital but has investors identified to complete the project.
Next, we got a chance to visit The Summit, formerly a Bible College, owned and operated by Ambassador Enterprises, which is a co-working space for non-profits and food based business startups. The space is offered at a heavily discounted rate to the tenants and aids them in growth, collaboration and development. The redevelopment also included an indoor gym and 40 yard football field, media rooms and meeting spaces.
The kitchen, CookSpring just became profitable 2 months ago after several years of running in the red. This was a grand accomplishment and a testament to how long term investing into entrepreneurship will pay off, but often times it never gets enough time to succeed.
After hearing about the greal portions of Fort Wayne then we got a chance to talk to community members to discuss some of the challenges that they face. DREEM Coalition is working to introduce students to the career paths in the medical field. The group pointed attention to the Southeast region, which has long been ignored in Fort Wayne. This sentiment was reiterated by Aaron and Janell Lane. The husband and wife duo showed a map of 106 churches and only two grocery stores in Southeast which was very reminiscent of the north side of Milwaukee. The below video displays the great work that Aaron and Janell Lane are doing in Southeast Fort Wayne.
Sites to see: Promenade Park
Best Food: French Toast from Proximo
Quote of the Trip: “Que, you should smile more, you have a nice smile, but your picture is intimidating.”
Summary: Milwaukee has a plethora of social service agencies and non profits, with which we can exchange knowledge with Fort Wayne on getting business done through all obstacles while providing solutions for rebuilding community.