In an 8-0 vote Thursday, Fort Wayne's Legacy Joint Funding Committee approved a formal resolution recommending funding for the Electric Works redevelopment project south of downtown.
The resolution – which is the last vote by the Legacy Fund committee before the proposal is evaluated by the City Council – formally affirms a recommendation the board made in May supporting the project. No dollar amounts were included in Thursday's resolution, nor were any funds distributed, although the requested amount has changed.
For a proposal to receive Legacy Fund money, it must receive favorable votes from six City Council members and receive Mayor Tom Henry's approval. The Legacy Fund consists of money generated by the lease and sale of the city's old power utility.
Originally, RTM Ventures, the firm developing the former General Electric campus, asked for $13.6 million split between a loan and a grant. The developers are now requesting a $10 million grant without the loan component. The proposal is part of a $62 million request for public funds to support the $221 million development.
Although the Legacy Fund committee has never issued a formal resolution supporting projects it recommends, Jon Bomberger, an attorney for Faegre Baker Daniels, told the board that it is a piece of evidence necessary for the bonding structure through which the public funds will be distributed.
City Councilman Paul Ensley, R-1st, abstained from Thursday's vote. The resolution was unnecessary, Ensley said, adding that he received a copy of the resolution just a few hours before the meeting and did not have time to adequately review it.
“It was my intention to vote to move this to City Council. My personal feelings on the project aside, I know this is something that council wishes to look at,” Ensley said. “Given the nature of doing a resolution instead of a standard up-or-down vote and having the text for this resolution only come in a few hours ago, I am going to have to abstain.”
Ensley voted against advancing the proposal during the May meeting. Committee chairman Kyle Kerley also voted against the proposal in May but voted in favor of Thursday's resolution.