FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – City Council authorized $5 million of Legacy Funds Tuesday evening to be used for a parking garage in the new Ash Brokerage development.
However, there was controversy over using Legacy Funds for this project. People against it said Legacy dollars should not be used for private projects. Others said the money should be used to fund economic development which is what the Ash Brokerage project will do.
“This may be a little bit of a chunk that constrains the city in being able to respond to opportunities as they come up,” City Councilman Mitch Harper said.
Developers said they do not know the expected revenue for the city but said the biggest pay off will be allowing future projects access to the garage. They also said they are certain there will be a positive cash flow for the parking spaces.
“A key factor in getting us to that critical point to where perhaps you don’t need public money because the demand will be so great,” Bill Bean of Hanning & Bean Enterprises, Inc. said.
Eight city council members voted for the use of the funds, and one, Russ Jehl, abstained because he had a personal investment in the project. Although Councilman Harper did vote for the money to be used for the garage, he said he wants to see more return back into the Legacy Fund from these investments. Council members said the fund still has around $40 million and is continuously growing.
Investors with the Ash Brokerage project said early stages of construction will begin next month, and the project is expected to take around two and half years to complete.