YLNI’s My City Summit: What do you want Fort Wayne to look like in 10 years?
Jul22

YLNI’s My City Summit: What do you want Fort Wayne to look like in 10 years?

Story submitted by Maria Omar   What do you want Fort Wayne to look like in the year 2025? Could we have zip-line tours through downtown Fort Wayne from the tallest building to Headwaters Park? What about having a winter ‘Fire and Ice Show’ on our rivers involving drums and fire arrows?   Maybe we could have a wider change throughout the city like adding more green spaces; systematically removing blighted properties; or painting art murals in downtown Fort Wayne.   We could also just focus on specific projects that can leverage our strengths. Create a food festival showcasing diverse cuisine from around the city. Develop riverfront entertainment businesses to draw in people all year round. Design a trails-based festival that allows residents to discover different neighborhoods in the city.   If you think I’m wildly imaginative, or just indulging in some old-fashioned daydreaming, I’d have to correct you. While I love all these ideas, I wasn’t the one who came up with them. It was the 200 participants at last year’s YLNI My City Summit. I first heard about YLNI’s My City Summit series when the Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana (YLNI) published a report on their 2014 event. Instead of an eloquent essay pondering over what the future of Fort Wayne could be, dreadfully spanning page after page, the report included actual pictures of idea cards that were collected at the event. Real, breathing, authentic Fort Wayne residents filled out these cards.   Check out this example:   ““A Rail Tour” of Ft Wayne / Allen Co. – A side of FW that we never see is the sights from the railroad tracks. This event could draw families from all around.” (Melissa Hall, Individual Idea, My City Summit 2014)   Or this:   “Create pedal-pub world championship. Competitive pedalpubbing.” (Even Sexton, Individual Idea, My City Summit 2014) Like you, I was amazed to discover the range of ideas Fort Wayne citizens brought to the table. They included people from all walks of life and experiences. Lawyers, financial analysts, accountants, educators, architects and artists – it seemed like people really opened their hearts and poured out their dreams for Fort Wayne. My City Summit organizers seem to take all these “dreams” really seriously: there was no idea too incredible or too ambitious. There were two kinds of input: “Individual Ideas” and “Big Ideas” that were compiled by group tables led by local community leaders.   Here is an example of a Big Idea put together by one table:   “Fort Wayne Field Day to bring arts and sports together. This would be a way to bring the youth...

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