Study: People want more restaurants, entertainment downtown

The St. Mary's River near downtown Fort Wayne

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – More restaurants and entertainment:  that’s what people told the group “Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana” (YLNI) they’d like to see added around our rivers.  The group asked more than 270 people in the Summit City what they would like to see downtown.

YLNI leaders we spoke with Wednesday say it was important to them to help make peoples’ voices heard.  Especially since city leaders are serious about improving the riverfront and bringing more businesses and things to do downtown.

“A vibrant downtown is vital for a city. And that is what’s going to make people want to come here,” YLNI VP of Communications Jake Pickett said.

Jake Pickett, Vice President of Communications for Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana says the results of the study speak for themselves.

Here’s a snapshot of what they uncovered.

YLNI Study

Across the board – people want to see more restaurants and entertainment.  Results Pickett says the group is going to share its results with city officials.

“We want to present it not only to the Riverfront Development Committee but also the mayor’s office and make sure that the voices are heard.

Out of curiosity, we hit the streets downtown to ask people what they’d like to see.  And YLNI’s study was spot on.

“Most people my age like the baby boomers, they’ve all seen and remember growing up in a time when you went downtown Calhoun Street to shop with your parents and it was a big deal. You took the buses down here. They want that. They want to be able to take their kids to this kind of a environment rather than the malls. The malls I think are a dead thing,” Vicki Verplanck said.

“I think more parking would help a lot. Or free parking,” Travis Smith said.

“They’re making a really good effort of adding things. So, at this time I think I’m pretty comfortable and happy with how things are,” Sara Miller said.

Click here to see the results of the study.

Ways you can submit your ideas and opinions:

  • Stop by Envision Fort Wayne’s office (916 S. Calhoun Street) Tuesdays 2-6 p.m., Thursdays 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., and Fridays 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.  Additional hours can be requested by emailing
  • Go to their website –
  • City of Fort Wayne’s Facebook page
  • Or send a tweet to @CityofFortWayne

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