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Mayor Henry to detail plans for $75 million 'Legacy' fund

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Public meeting

What: Mayor Henry's proposals for the $75 million 'Legacy' fund
When: 5:30 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Room 030, Citizens Square, 200 E. Berry St.

Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 10:38 am

Mayor Tom Henry is set to detail his ideas on how to invest Fort Wayne's $75 million “Legacy” fund – a question that already has dominated recent City Council discussions.

The mayor will deliver a presentation on his ideas to council Tuesday in an informal “fifth Tuesday” discussion on the Legacy fund, which was created from the lease and sale of the old City Light utility to Indiana Michigan Power.

Some Republican council members have already started pushing their own ideas for the money. But Council President Tom Smith, R-1st, said he expected council to consider all of Henry's suggestions on their merits.

“The ideas that the mayor is bringing forward are all worthy ideas,” said Smith, who will chair Tuesday's meeting.

The city won access to the full $75 million through a 2010 settlement with I&M over the City Light utility's remaining assets. About $47 million is available, with nearly $30 million more to come in annual payments through 2025.

Several Republican council members have called for the money to go toward property tax relief, street repairs and other infrastructure work, while Henry has consistently said the money should help fund bold, innovative projects and programs.

From early January 2011 through this summer, several committees appointed by Henry narrowed down a set of final recommendations from hundreds of ideas submitted by groups and individuals.

John Perlich, a spokesman for the mayor's office, declined to discuss any of the specific proposals Monday.

According to documents obtained by The News-Sentinel earlier this year, the proposals could include a pair of $10 million funds for downtown and riverfront development; a $4.5 million renovation of the old McMillen Ice Arena; and a $5 million grant fund to help draw colleges downtown.

Any spending from the Legacy fund likely will require approval by both the mayor and a 6-3 "supermajority" of council.