2 councilmen concerned with Landing proposal

A funding request for streetscape improvements along The Landing’s Columbia Street has raised the eyebrows of two Fort Wayne City Council members who plan to voice concerns at a news conference this morning.

According to a news release, Councilmen Paul Ensley, R-1st, and Russ Jehl, R-2nd, will hold a news conference today to “discuss how to avoid a large funding discrepancy at The Landing triggered by the bill being proposed by the administration at council.”

That bill is a $1.4 million contract between the city and Strebig Construction for streetscape improvements in the 100 block of West Columbia Street between Harrison and Calhoun streets. The project would remove existing sidewalks and asphalt pavement and create a “pedestrian-friendly streetscape plaza which would eliminate the curb and incorporate the street with the surrounding sidewalk areas.”

The streetscape improvements were a source of contention when council approved new rules governing loans from the city’s Legacy Fund. The Landing received a loan from the Legacy Fund, but Ensley and Jehl raised concerns over how the streetscape improvements would be funded.

At the time, Ensley worried whether the improvements would be funded using loan funds from the Legacy Fund and the northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority.

During that period, Jehl authored an amendment to the loan agreement that gave the council the option to reopen it, should the developer return to the table with a request for future funding.