Fort Wayne was just dubbed the nation's hottest real estate market by Realtor.com. A big reason, of course, is the affordability of homes. But there's little doubt the region's growing reputation as a place where things are happening is playing a role in making people want to live here.
To help keep that momentum going, the Allen County Council is being asked to approve a 1% increase in the innkeeper's tax. Increasing the surcharge on local hotel and motel bills from 7% to 8% would allow Visit Fort Wayne to more widely promote the growing number of attractions for visitors. The increase would assess hotel and motel guests only about 75 cents more per night, but it would mean about $750,000 more could be devoted to trade-show visits and advertising to draw more national attention to some of the area's unique assets. There's every reason to believe more exposure would bring more patrons to the Memorial Coliseum, Turnstone events, the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center and our newest local jewel, Promenade Park.
In July, the council postponed a vote, citing concerns about increasing the tax. Visit Fort Wayne is asking supporters of the small, targeted increase to show up for Thursday's vote, which is expected to be close.
The story this community has to tell is too good to keep to ourselves. And there's a lot more to tell than there was when the innkeeper's tax was last increased 12 years ago. Reaching people who might visit here, move here or locate a business here is part of the process of growing a more prosperous community. Putting a slightly larger surtax on our current visitors is a painless way to help Fort Wayne's messaging keep pace with its development.
To be heard
The Allen County Council meets at 8:30 a.m. Thursday at Citizens Square,200 E. Berry St., in the lower level. Contact council members at (260) 449-7233 or by email.
Sharon Tucker, D-1st
Tom Harris, R-2nd
Joel Benz, R-3rd
Larry Brown, R-4th
Robert A. Armstrong, R-at large
Ken Fries, R-at large
Kyle Kerley, R-at large