Its looking as if major restructuring of local economic development efforts will involve two – rather than the original three – organizations.
Mayor Tom Henry last fall announced that Fort Wayne and Allen County officials planned to review and revamp the way various organizations work with employers.
The idea was to make the process easier to navigate so the county would be more competitive and could better compete for business investments and new jobs.
Leaders from the Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce and the Fort Wayne-Allen County Economic Development Alliance joined the announcement and spoke in support of the project.
So did leaders from the DID – also known as the Downtown Improvement District. But the non-profits participation in the merger is iffy.
DIDs board will need to vote on whether to join the new organization.
But considering members voted Jan. 22 to remove the interim designation from Bill Browns director title, it seems doubtful.
Zach Benedict, DIDs chairman, last week said the organization is a pseudo-governmental agency that was created by state statute and collects taxes from businesses operating in the designated area. That has legal implications.
Its a little harder to absorb into another organization, he said.
Even so, the organization plans to support the new umbrella organization and its goals, said Benedict, a partner in local architecture firm Morrison Kattman Menze Inc.
Whether or not we get absorbed by the new entity has more to do with logistics than intent, he said.
Mike Packnett, president and CEO of Parkview Health, is overseeing the consolidation effort.
Hes untroubled by the potential loss as long as the DID has an envoy on the new organizations pretty large diverse board to represent the downtowns interests.
From my standpoint, either way is fine, he said.
The Chamber joined with the city and county to create the Alliance in 2000. The three founding groups have equally contributed to the Alliances budget each year since then.
City and county officials still need to review their existing economic development departments to decide whether they will be affected by the consolidation, Packnett said.
The mergers broad strokes are on pace to be announced by the end of the month, meeting local officials self-imposed aggressive timetable.
Behind-the-scenes work is now focused on establishing legal and financial structures for the new nonprofit.