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Board approves bonds for parking garage expansion

April 26, 2018 GMT

The Allen County Fort Wayne Capital Improvement Board this morning approved borrowing up to $17 million to add two floors to the Civic Center Parking Garage : and possibly fund the purchase of three properties just west of the Grand Wayne Center.

The board authorized issuing revenue bonds to be paid back through the Allen County food and beverage tax, the board’s major funding stream.

In February the board heard a presentation by the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Authority that expanding the existing parking garage would cost less than acquiring additional land and building a new structure.

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The expansion will add 225 spaces to the garage’s 1,013 to help solve a downtown parking crunch for the Grand Wayne and other downtown attractions, particularly during the week when about 90 percent of spaces are taken up through contract parking, board members were told.

The bonds are expected to provide 7 million will be granted to the redevelopment authority for the garage and the rest for the expenses for bond issuance.

The remainder of the money million will go for acquiring three properties along Jefferson Boulevard across Webster Street from the Grand Wayne, according to the approved resolution.

Commonly called “the fast-food block,” the board has been eyeing the site for developing a downtown arena. That plan did not come to fruition after a study showed it was not sustainable financially and Mayor Tom Henry said there was not enough support for the project.

The board has an option to buy the land that must be exercised by Dec. 31 and the purchase executed by next June, said Ben Eisbart, board member. The option is for about $6 million, but there would be additional cost in issuing the bond, said Don Steininger, board member.

The board may use two separate bonds to fund the projects, said John Sampson, board member, to keep from borrowing more than each project needs.

For more on this story, see Friday’s print edition of The Journal Gazette or visit www.journalgazette.net after 1 a.m. Friday.

rsalter@jg.net