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Headwaters Junction part of Legacy task force recommendation

The Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly reports

“A task force of 15 volunteers has evaluated nearly 1,000 suggestions for projects and initiatives that could help shape Fort Wayne’s future.

Members have narrowed that number down to 24 they believe could get the most bang out of a $77-million financial legacy the city has coming.

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry appointed the Legacy Fort Wayne task force to gather and evaluate the suggestions. It is now pulling together any additional information needed to review the ideas it tagged for further consideration.

Two of the most popular proposals at the website related to passenger rail service development and Headwaters Junction. Both made it to the top tier of suggestions that will receive further consideration.

The Northeast Indiana Passenger Rail Association requested $2.15 million in funding for a study on the impact passenger rail service could have on the city and for planning, predevelopment and engineering steps needed to restore passenger rail service to Fort Wayne. The funding also would support collaborative efforts with passenger rail groups in other Indiana cities.

“We’re really appreciative of the support we appear to have from the legacy committee based on our proposal, and we’re also moving on our own,” said Fred Lanahan, NIPRA president. “We have a broad and rock-solid membership that is going to help us in a variety of ways.”

Kelly Lynch, project manager for Headwaters Junction, said plans for the mixed-use gateway and downtown attraction project showcasing the Nickel Plate Railroad steam locomotive No. 765 at the North River property predate the legacy request for proposals and fit with previous community planning.

“A lot of people see this as an opportunity to further legitimize the concept,” he said. “I was told by people involved in the (legacy) project it was one of the bold and visionary ideas submitted.”

“Seed money for the development of the project — for its planning and implementation and design — would take it to the next level, which is more than just me armed with a 50-page conceptual plan,” Lynch said. “There are a lot of doors that could still be opened.”