Redevelopment Commission to give boost to improvements at Jefferson Pointe, Sweetwater Sound

Parts of Jefferson Pointe are accessible only by foot, buut that will change if owners get their way. (News-Sentinel.com file photo)
Sweetwater Sound plans to add 1,000 employees, and the city will help pay for a new water line to serve the site and allow for future growth in the area. (News-Sentinel.com file photo)

Public improvements near two prominent Fort Wayne businesses — Sweetwater Sound and Jefferson Pointe shopping center — apparently will get a boost from the city’s Redevelopment Commission.

On Monday the Commissioner was expected to approve a proposal under which it would reimburse RED Development up to $3.5 million toward the cost of constructing a street through the courtyard of the shopping center on Jefferson Boulevard just west of downtown. The money would be generated by taxes collected in the area and would also pay for drainage improvements on the 66-acre property.

Kansas-based RED bought Jefferson Pointe last year and in September asked the Fort Wayne Plan Commission for permission to add the street to improve access and nearby parking for shops and to “create a more vibrant downtown feel.” But the request was delayed then finally withdrawn in January in order to provide more “time to reach an agreement on funding sources and finalize plans.” Plans for the road were refiled with the Plan Commission this month.

Construction is expected to begin this year, and Redevelopment Director Nancy Townsend said repayment of the $3.5 million would occur over three years.

Sweetwater Sound last year announced plans for an $83 million expansion expected to create 1,000 jobs on its U.S. 30 campus west of town. Townsend the commission will consider extending an oversized water main into the Sweetwater property and beyond it to the west, serving not only Sweetwater’s needs but enabling future growth in the area. Allen County is also set to pay about $175,000 for removal of a hill on nearby Kroemer Road, improving access and safety near the facility. The city’s Sweetwater improvements will also be reimbursed through tax generated in the area.

Also Monday, the commission was set to consider streetscape improvements to Calhoun and Harrison streets downtown at a combined cost of about $580,000. The Harrison Street section would include the initial section of a proposed 10-foot “urban trail” that eventually could extend as far south as the Citilink bus terminal and Electric Works campus, as far north as the so-called “North River” site and east to Lafayette Street and the arts campus, with access to more-traditional suburban and rural trails via connections to the Rivergreenway. The proposal is modeled in part on the eight-mile, $63 million Indianapolis Cultural Trail that opened in 2012.

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