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City Council OKs $1 million for Fort Wayne streets

Wednesday, March 6, 2013 - 7:17 am

A one-time infusion of $1 million into neighborhood streets and sidewalks won't fix Fort Wayne's $65 million backlog of unfunded projects – but it's a start, City Council members said Tuesday.

The panel voted 9-0 to take $1 million of interest generated by the city's $75 million “Legacy” fund and put it toward neighborhood repairs this year in each of the six council districts.

“There's probably a $5 million need in the 6th District alone,” said Councilman Glynn Hines, D-6th. “The need is so great, ($1 million is) a pittance, but it's a start.”

Three council members – Russ Jehl, R-2nd, Mitch Harper, R-4th, and John Crawford, R-at large – originally sponsored a bill earlier this year to use about $2.1 million of interest from the Legacy fund created from the lease and sale of the old City Light utility to Indiana Michigan Power.

Council members agreed with Mayor Tom Henry's administration to lower the amount to $1 million because a special fiscal policy group formed by the mayor is expected this month to propose some long-term solutions to the backlog of repairs.

“I wish it would have been the $2.1 million, but I'll take the $1 million,” said council President Tom Didier, R-2nd. “It's better than nothing.”

City officials have said they plan to spend about $2 million on street resurfacing projects this year, a total that includes both concrete and asphalt streets. The $1 million infusion will provide about $167,000 more for each council district.