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Chamber-economic alliance merger in final stage?

Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 9:22 am

It’s taken longer than expected, but the merger of at least two of Fort Wayne’s economic development organizations could be announced as soon as next month.

Members of the Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce will meet April 9 to consider changes to the articles of incorporation that would apparently combine the chamber with the Fort Wayne-Allen County Economic Development Alliance. The new organization would be called the Greater Fort Wayne Metro Chamber Alliance Inc. Chamber President Mike Landram declined to comment, but members were notified of the proposed changes, already approved by the organization’s directors, this week.

Last September representatives of the chamber, Alliance, Downtown Improvement District (DID), city and county announced plans to improve cooperation among various agencies to “increase the competitive position of the city.” The effort, chaired by Parkview Health CEO Mike Packnett, was expected to propose changes as early as January and, in fact, an announcement was tentatively scheduled for earlier this week.

Even if the chamber and alliance agree to merge, however, details such as funding, staffing and location would have to be worked out. The DID’s relationship to the new organization also remains unclear, since the DID was created by state statute and is authorized by City Council to operate through 2015.