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Discussion point

GE campus vital to downtown renaissance

General Electric and the city have been extraordinarily close-mouthed about the future of the sprawling campus on the southwest edge of downtown. The company is thought to be sensitive about the condition of some of the 13 buildings and possibly worried about environmental problems. Virtually no one is allowed inside most of the structures.

Caution and private discussions have their place.

But the GE site is a key piece of the puzzle if Fort Wayne’s downtown is to continue growing and expanding.

In January, the company had announced its intent to close, but the official decision was deferred for 60 days to allow the union that represents some of the 88 remaining employees in the city to make counterproposals.

That period ended last week, and, in a release, GE spokesman Matt Conkrite wrote that the union’s ideas for saving money “fell well short of the savings and efficiencies that would be generated by the proposed actions.”

So, soon, the last workers will leave, probably early next year.

This spring, attention is focused, as it should be, on exciting developments in other parts of downtown – groundbreaking for a huge new office tower and apartment complex, reimagining the Landing, coming up with new ways to use and showcase Fort Wayne’s rivers.

But at some point, the community will need to be let in on the conversation about what’s to be done with the 32-acre GE campus sprawling beneath the giant blue sign that once was the city’s proudest symbol of economic health.

Our vibrant and growing city center should not be butting up against a ghost town.