Although John Urbahns was only recently appointed the chief executive officer and president of the Greater Fort Wayne Inc., he has been involved with Fort Wayne’s strategic plan for the revitalization and redevelopment of the city’s downtown for the majority of his career. He has been with Greater Fort Wayne Inc. since 2014, serving as the executive vice president of economic development. Prior to joining Greater Fort Wayne Inc., Urbahns served as director of community development for the City of Fort Wayne. Because of his expertise and in-depth knowledge of the development of Fort Wayne, City Guide wanted to get his perspective on the revitalization of the heart of the Summit City.
CG: How do all the downtown development projects impact Fort Wayne’s growth?
JU: A thriving downtown benefits the entire community. We’re already seeing the impact of Parkview Field–it has spurred a much bigger downtown revitalization. Companies like Ash Brokerage, Aptera, SIRVA, Shindigz and Rural Sourcing could have moved elsewhere, but they chose to locate in downtown Fort Wayne because of our high-quality downtown. The vitality of downtown attracts and retains a talented workforce. Projects like the Riverfront development, The Landing and Electric Works will build on this.
CG: How do these projects reflect growth, innovation and development for the city of Fort Wayne?
JU: In the decade before Parkview Field was built, there was about $2 million in private investment downtown. In the decade since, there’s been about $300 million. That kind of growth is astounding. I think these projects show we’re a community that wants to be the best. And we have to be the best, if we want to accomplish our mission of building a nationally-recognized economy. Companies are looking to bring jobs to places that have a high quality of life, and we’re becoming a community that’s too good to pass up.
CG: How can the community support these projects and other projects that may be on the horizon?
JU: Make the most of these spaces. Take pride in them. Show them off to your friends. Visit Promenade Park. Grab dinner on The Landing. Attend a festival or a farmers’ market. If we support these improvements, they’ll succeed, and so will our community.