FORT WAYNE – The Downtown Improvement Districts board on Tuesday approved plans to work cooperatively with Greater Fort Wayne Inc. and to lease new downtown office space.
Bill Brown, DIDs president, was given authority to lease about 1,800 square feet at 904 S. Calhoun St. for the quasi-governmental agency that was created in 1995 to promote and support downtown Fort Wayne. Midtowne Real Estate is the landlord.
Annual rent will be about $18,500. The organizations annual budget is more than $560,000.
DID collects a special tax assessed on businesses that operate in a designated 91-block area. The organizations operating budget also relies on money from the city and county, foundation grants and sponsorships.
The boards regular monthly meeting was in a meeting room at Allen County Public Library downtown.
Board members also approved a memorandum of understanding on a collaboration with Greater Fort Wayne, the economic development organization created this year with the merger of the Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce and the Fort Wayne-Allen County Economic Development Alliance.
The memo, which doesnt specify an end date, says that both organizations will work to align DIDs clean-and-safe initiatives, marketing, special events and other services with Greater Fort Waynes strategic plan – now being developed.
DID and Greater Fort Wayne also agreed to explore ways to raise public awareness of the organizations with sponsorships and other branding strategies.
And the organizations will develop a timeline for entering a formal fee-for-service agreement that could see DID signing over its staff and entire budget to Greater Fort Wayne to execute tasks on DIDs behalf.
Brown, DIDs president, doesnt know how long it might be before a service agreement is reached. Hes not even positive that one will be reached.
What I like to say is, its tracking that direction, he said.
If a fee-for-service agreement is eventually reached, Brown expects that DIDs current employees would remain in the new Calhoun Street offices while drawing paychecks from Greater Fort Wayne. The staff would be assigned duties that support DIDs mission.
The Downtown Improvement Districts mission statement includes a commitment to creating a strong, economically vibrant urban core of the northeast Indiana region through special events and marketing, beautification efforts, and advocacy and business development.