Community leaders heading to Iowa for inter-city visit

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Thirty-eight community and business leaders will spend the next four days in Des Moines to find things the city is doing that can be put in place in the Summit City. The trip is part of Greater Fort Wayne, Inc.’s inter-city program.

People going on the trip include business and community leaders, representatives in education, elected officials, and economic development professionals. The trip takes place Thursday, October 16 through Sunday, October 19. Organizers of the Inter-City Visit chose Des Moines because it is the number one ranked midsize metro area in Greater Fort Wayne Inc.’s economic index study. It was also named by Forbes as the number one city for young professionals in 2014. The Iowa capital was also number three out of the top ten places with the most job opportunities per capita by Beyond.com.

Those on the trip will focus on studying Des Moines’ successful economic development plans and initiatives, the Principle Riverwalk Development Plan, downtown development, downtown investments, projects under development, and their successful efforts to retain and attract young professionals. Participants will also have an opportunity to experience the Principle River Walk, the city’s Farmer’s Market, which sees an average of more than 20,000 visitors each Saturday, Pappajohn Sculpture Park, Art Center, and the redeveloped historic East Village.

“The 2014 Inter-City Visit is a chance for participants to learn and generate ideas for a greater Fort Wayne-Allen County, said Cheri Becker, Vice President of Leadership Development at Greater Fort Wayne Inc. “Looking at the success of other ‘like’ cities allows us to see the bigger picture of all the opportunities available to greater Fort Wayne residents.”

Greater Fort Wayne Inc.’s study, the same that found Des Moines one number, also found that Fort Wayne ranked 52nd. Fort Wayne Downtown Improvement District President Bill Brown added the city wants to get inside the top 25.

Brown is one of the 38 people making the visit west.

“Their downtown is really fabulous,” said Brown, who is looking forward to learning more about Des Moines’ downtown giftcard program. DID will start its own program in early 2015. It will work like any other giftcard, and will be accepted at downtown Fort Wayne businesses. “Des Moines has done a nice job with downtown and that’s what I’m focused on and want to see what they’re doing. They attract a lot of people to their downtown.”

Greater Fort Wayne Inc. is the new organization that unifies the Fort Wayne‐Allen County Economic Development Alliance, the Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce, and Leadership Fort Wayne, serving as a single point of contact for economic growth in Greater Fort Wayne. In addition, the Downtown Improvement District is also working toward an affiliation with Greater Fort Wayne Inc. Together, we’re growing a more prosperous, vibrant community in Greater Fort Wayne. To learn more about Greater Fort Wayne Inc., click here to learn more.

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