Friday, June 08, 2018 1:00 am
Sacrifice a portion of the GE campus
There is a concept referred to as addition through subtraction, which implies it is possible to improve something by making something else go away. In business, it involves dropping all your customers to the right of where the marginal revenue curve crosses the marginal cost curve. In other words, get rid of all the customers who cost you more than they earn you. Your sales go down but your profits go up.
Let's apply this concept to the GE campus. The nostalgia involves mostly the sign (which GE says it will keep) and all the former workers (many of whom have died).
We have tried to reclaim this property. The reality is that the cost is just too high. The developers want all their costs and profits guaranteed up front, leaving us taxpayers with the risk of time. Sixty-five million dolllars is a very bad bet.
How about we just tear down the largest building? The cost would be considerably less than $65 million. It would open up that ground to organic growth and let the sun literally shine on the part of the West Central neighborhood south of West Jefferson Boulevard. The large building on the east side of Broadway would still be available for loft apartments and is actually contiguous to the existing new growth.
Revitalizing 6th District must become priority
A growing city core, new riverfront projects, Electric Works, expansion in the public health sector, what could possibly be missing?
In early 2015, I penned a letter explaining why mayoral candidates should focus their energy on the southeast part of Fort Wayne – specifically, that “this shift in focus would help any candidate.” Although this was not a difficult plea to undertake, neither Mayor Tom Henry nor his opponent decided to make southeast Fort Wayne a priority. Henry has done little in his three terms to directly address the issues faced by the citizens there. As people such as Councilman John Crawford begin their campaigns for mayor, the notion that the most neglected area of Fort Wayne be addressed in the mayoral election still holds true.
Projects like Electric Works are a good start, but no one is truly sure what will happen in terms of funding. I am of the belief that if the project becomes the economic giant that many believe it has the potential to be, then Fort Wayne can only be better because of it. Specifically, the southern end of Fort Wayne, an area of the city that is hungering for large investments and more economic opportunities.
This inaction from the current administration is breeding action from concerned citizens like my good friend Asiann Mitchell, who is standing up for those in the 6th District by running for City Council. He says: “Henry and the current council are aware of our current circumstances and fail to act and address our problems as if we aren't apart of the city. ... We can start by actually solving crime in the district, completely ending corporate welfare so that tax dollars return to the public, not private institutions, fixing and re-establishing a local, robust economy so district taxes revive local establishments and, finally, make members of the 6th District feel as if they are one with the collective population.”
I believe what Asiann says is true – that the 6th District must become a focal point in 2019 and that the age of inaction must end.
Memorial Day blessing
On a sun-drenched Memorial Day morning, seven of our family gathered at Spyro's on West Jefferson Boulevard. After a great breakfast, served by great staff wearing appropriate-for-the-day American flag ties, how could it get any better? We soon found out. Our server said our meals had been paid for.
This brought a tear to these old eyes. On this veterans' holiday, this gesture was especially meaningful and greatly appreciated.
We will most certainly pay this forward.
Whoever you are, God bless you and your family.
SAM and CAROL CONTE and family