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Unread 07-26-2009, 01:15 AM
 
62 posts, read 123,267 times
Reputation: 26
Red face Downtown Fort Wayne RANT

I just relocated to Fort Wayne, and the writer behind this blog is spot on with what's hindering this great city: Vanishing STL: Lessons from Fort Wayne
We gotta do something about this!

CAUTION: Below is a lot of text. I apologize if you cannot bear to read it all.



My parents came to visit recently so I gave them a tour of downtown. I'll admit that I do not know the area that well just yet, but when we got hungry, we had to LEAVE downtown just to find a good amount of options of places to eat. I am aware that downtown is not ridden of food, but there is not nearly as much as what a a drive down Coliseum Blvd would show. Normally when people go eat (at least downtown), they want to be hit with options (ie. a strip of restaurants/cafes in close proximity). The exact same goes for shopping.

I'm a young professional who wants to move downtown and enjoy an urban lifestyle. I want the option to WALK when going about my day-to-day activities but what options do I have? First, there are 2 Midtowne Crossing Condos for sale that are 500-600 square feet (TINY!). Second, there is the wait for the Harrison Square condos (right up my alley, but on the expensive side considering the lack of retail in the area), and lastly, there is Three Rivers Apartments (bleh). There may not be much downtown at the moment, but I think there is enough to justify living there since there's not enough people there to create traffic anyway, which would be the ONLY significant deterrent in my opinion. I also have faith that downtown development will accelerate..sooner or later. This lack of housing options is obviously where my rant stems .

Nonetheless, I am sure there are plenty of people out there that feel the same way. Many of my co-workers who have relocated to Fort Wayne after college and who are 25 years old or younger do not see themselves staying here any longer than necessary JUST because of the city. A reason for the lack of retainment, is the fact that the younger generation that I am apart of appreciates more of an urban lifestyle (closer proximities). We are waiting longer to have children and do not want to live at cookie-cutter apartment communities for 10+ years of our lives before we settle down in a house. It seems as if the only expansion and development that is truly apparent in Fort Wayne are newly constructed houses in suburbia that are extending further and further from downtown. Although I have a good amount saved for a down payment, I am not ready for a "single-family house."

Before I moved to Fort Wayne, I was told constantly that this city is a great place to raise a family, but it seems as if this city forgot about the life after school and the life before a family. This sticks out like a sore thumb to me because this is exactly where I find myself today. I apologize if this rant sounded more like "whining."


On the bright side though, parking was a breeze when giving my parents a tour of downtown!

Please share your thoughts. I would love to hear everyone's perspective.

Last edited by fakie; 07-26-2009 at 02:03 AM..
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Unread 07-26-2009, 04:17 AM
 
2,564 posts, read 5,035,592 times
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If you want a more urban style of living, move to Indianapolis. You need a certain amount of population (empty nesters with money, young professionals, etc.) to build and support an urban environment in today's world of Walmart and suburban living.

It took decades for even Indy to get where it is. And some young urbans still complain because we are not Chicago or NYC.
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Unread 07-26-2009, 09:44 AM
 
62 posts, read 123,267 times
Reputation: 26
I am not expecting Indianapolis urban living here in Fort Wayne, but what I see here is dormant activity of residential development in downtown for the last 19 years (Almost two decades!). Midtowne Crossing condominiums were completed in 1990, and according to city-data, new construction numbers for the past ten years or so are below:

  • 1997: 145 buildings, average cost: $112,100
  • 1998: 205 buildings, average cost: $103,600
  • 1999: 184 buildings, average cost: $113,400
  • 2000: 133 buildings, average cost: $120,900
  • 2001: 265 buildings, average cost: $98,700
  • 2002: 312 buildings, average cost: $117,000
  • 2003: 312 buildings, average cost: $136,000
  • 2004: 315 buildings, average cost: $147,500
  • 2005: 331 buildings, average cost: $144,600
  • 2006: 231 buildings, average cost: $151,700
  • 2007: 173 buildings, average cost: $159,100
  • 2008: 138 buildings, average cost: $141,700
Look at these numbers. For the most part (if not 100%), these are all new homes, built on new lots. There are only 104 condos in the Midtowne Crossing development, which were all built in the 80s. Those are imbalanced numbers.


Lastly, moving out to Indy or anywhere else, for that matter, is not out of the question for myself and other people like me. I do not think that is the answer Fort Wayne is looking for though. It is a trend that I'm sure Harrison Square was meant to counter.

Last edited by fakie; 07-26-2009 at 10:24 AM..
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Unread 07-26-2009, 12:12 PM
 
Location: Fishers, IN
5,481 posts, read 5,330,856 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetana3 View Post
If you want a more urban style of living, move to Indianapolis. You need a certain amount of population (empty nesters with money, young professionals, etc.) to build and support an urban environment in today's world of Walmart and suburban living.

It took decades for even Indy to get where it is. And some young urbans still complain because we are not Chicago or NYC.
Yeah, I would never think of moving to Fort Wayne if I were looking for an "urban" lifestyle.
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Unread 07-26-2009, 12:58 PM
 
62 posts, read 123,267 times
Reputation: 26
I moved to Fort Wayne for different reasons. My job here is a great start for my career. That and the chance to save more money were the two big draws for me. I'm not committed here so I have that freedom to relocate, but this is my new hometown. As much as it does not fit with where I see myself for the remaining 10 years of my young adult life (at least in its present state), I want it to work.

Although I do not know the financial background of Harrison Square, I have been surprised by all the opposition to this development and the Superior/Restaurant Row proposal. It may be the financials of these projects that spark opposition, but these projects would be great to bring SOME SIGN of life to downtown and give me hope.

A full-fledged "urban" lifestyle will never be realized in Fort Wayne, and I know that. Furthermore, the charm of Fort Wayne is inherent in the suburban features that the metropolitan area has to offer. Nonetheless though, downtown is the core of this city, and living in suburban bliss will only make make it harder when recruiting and retaining the future of this city.

Last edited by fakie; 07-26-2009 at 01:19 PM..
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Unread 07-27-2009, 08:24 AM
 
Location: Turn Left at Greenland
17,368 posts, read 22,493,505 times
Reputation: 7203
Fort Wayne is geared toward families with children.
__________________
If there won't be dancing at the revolution, I'm not coming.
Emma Goldman
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Unread 07-27-2009, 11:23 AM
 
62 posts, read 123,267 times
Reputation: 26
How about when those children get older? Are they expected to relocate and conveniently come crawling back to Fort Wayne once they have a family? Can a city really rely on relocating families as their primary factor of population growth? I thought, it's harder and less appealing to relocate once you have a family (especially to a new city). I could be dead wrong though.

When I mentioned others like me that do not see themselves staying here for any longer than necessary, they don't plan on coming back. It's harder to draw people in than to retain what you have, and as the baby boomers get older and become empty nesters, what is happening to their children? They can live at home (not what they want), live in an apartment in the suburbs (same old same old), or live downtown (fat chance at the present time). Instead, those that have the opportunity move away.

Fort Wayne is going to find itself at the end of the baby boomer suburban cycle soon and wish it did something sooner.

Last edited by fakie; 07-27-2009 at 11:34 AM..
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Unread 07-27-2009, 11:55 AM
 
Location: 46201
6,310 posts, read 6,602,319 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fakie View Post
How about when those children get older? Are they expected to relocate and conveniently come crawling back to Fort Wayne once they have a family? Can a city really rely on relocating families as their primary factor of population growth? I thought, it's harder and less appealing to relocate once you have a family (especially to a new city). I could be dead wrong though.

When I mentioned others like me that do not see themselves staying here for any longer than necessary, they don't plan on coming back. It's harder to draw people in than to retain what you have, and as the baby boomers get older and become empty nesters, what is happening to their children? They can live at home (not what they want), live in an apartment in the suburbs (same old same old), or live downtown (fat chance at the present time). Instead, those that have the opportunity move away.

Fort Wayne is going to find itself at the end of the baby boomer suburban cycle soon and wish it did something sooner.
Every city has a group of people who talk about how they are going to leave at first chance and that the city should do more to retain those people.

Funny thing is, those people leave, and somehow the city manages to exist without them. Weird.

Last edited by Toxic Toast; 07-27-2009 at 12:03 PM..
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Unread 07-27-2009, 12:05 PM
 
62 posts, read 123,267 times
Reputation: 26
It all happens over time.

Also, it's not so much that the population takes the hit. There's no stopping the rate of human reproduction; it's the movement of people that will be noticeable. Affluent, appealing cities will attract the top talent and companies.

The best and brightest raised in Fort Wayne aren't going to stay in Fort Wayne. Is that not disappointing?
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Unread 07-27-2009, 12:52 PM
 
Location: 46201
6,310 posts, read 6,602,319 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fakie View Post
The best and brightest raised in Fort Wayne aren't going to stay in Fort Wayne.
Haresay and speculation.

Not every affluent person wants to live in a condo and walk to a grocery store in Harrison Square, just like not every affluent person wants to live in New Haven. Fort Wayne does have an appeal, it is just not yours.
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