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New Haven mayor touts city’s future

Teamwork and working with Allen County and the region has made New Haven a great place to live and work, and it’s only going to get better, according to its chief executive.

Mayor Terry McDonald delivered his annual State of the City address Monday, listing a host of new developments and improvements that have already happened or are in the works for the city.

“The recent announcement of a new and larger distribution center for FedEx Ground to be built in Gateway Park will bring an investment of $25 million into our community,” McDonald said. “This is our time.”

McDonald credited regional efforts for bringing New Haven into the forefront of economic development. He urged the community to forge a new way forward by being full partners in the leadership of the entire region.

“I have seen a new and genuine effort in our county and in the region to work together across political boundaries with little regard to ownership or credit,” McDonald said.

Last year, the Fort Wayne Metropolitan Statistical Area ranked 13th in the nation for job growth in the Best Performing Cities Index. McDonald said he supported identifying New Haven as part of the Metro Fort Wayne region.

“Let’s face it, few people know about us as an individual little community, but everyone knows Fort Wayne,” he said. “We will all gain by showing unity, with the advantage of strength in numbers and combining our efforts to put our region on the map.”

New Haven has seen the opening of the U.S. 24 Fort-to-Port project and the Maplecrest Road extension, the investments of numerous companies and development along the Adams Center Road corridor, McDonald said.

The city is in good shape financially, enjoying the best credit rating it has ever had and the largest general fund balance the city has seen in 10 years, he said.

“All of this has been achieved in spite of the loss of over $100 million in assessed valuation, reduction in property tax monies and substantial reductions in income tax revenue,” McDonald said.

He applauded city employees, noting that they had endured a lack of salary increases while watching health care costs increase and have had to wear multiple hats as the city cut back on hiring new employees.

City Councilman Bob Byrd, R-4th, said he was encouraged by the speech.

“The community is really attracting economic development and is preparing for the future,” Byrd said.

At the end of the event, McDonald presented the Bill Fritcha community award to the family of Craig Robinson, who died in July 2011. The award is given for civic engagement, service to community and acts of kindness.