Airport, Allen County, taking steps to develop 223 acres near Fort Wayne International

Creation of an economic development area helped bring Franklin Electric to southwest Allen County a few years ago. Now officials are hoping to do the same with more than 220 acres along Airport Expressway. (Courtesy image)
Scott Hinderman

Hoping to attract more industry to the area near Fort Wayne International Airport, the Allen County Redevelopment Commission Tuesday is expected to designate 223 acres an “economic development area.”

If approved, the designation would allow creation of a tax increment financing (TIF) district that would capture taxes generated by future improvements for use within the area bounded by Airport Expressway on the north , Smith Road on the east, Coverdale Road on the west and Ferguson Road on the south. The TIF revenues could be used for roads, sewers and other infrastructure but could also be used for other purposes. In 2011, for example, the Coverdale economic development area was created to capture taxes from the construction of the new Franklin Electric headquarters. The TIF is being used to pay part of the bond debt used to build the company’s $19.3 million facility.

The land is owned by the Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority, and Executive Director Scott Hinderman said the designation will help make the site more attractive for future non-aviation development. The Federal Aviation Administration has agreed to allow development so long as it does not interfere with airport operations, he added. The new district would be to the south of Franklin’s headquarters, which moved to Fort Wayne from Bluffton with about 225 employees.

In order to designate the site an economic development area, the commission must determine it will help promote jobs and economic activity and is consistent with the county’s current development plan. The designation would remain in effect for 25 years and must also be approved by the Allen County Plan Commission and Board of Commissioners.