Arts United Center plans expansion backed by City

Arts United and elected leaders advocate for public-private partnership
Arts United and elected leaders advocate for public-private partnership(Arts United)
Published: Dec. 9, 2021 at 3:40 PM EST
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) - City officials gathered Thursday to show their support of a public-private partnership to renovate the Arts United Center downtown.

The overhaul of the facility would modernize the building and help make it compliant with standards established by the Americans with Disabilities Act. It would add an elevator and provide added space for wheelchairs, officials said.

Arts United is seeking about $9 million in public funding to bring to life its vision. Funding is being sought from the City and from Allen County, as well as State sources.

Mayor Tom Henry stressed the importance of the arts, not only for the entertainment it provides to residents, but the appeal it offers in the business community.

“We no longer compete against just a few cities in Indiana,” he said. “Now we’re competing against cities like Chicago, Detroit and Cincinnati.

“The more we can bring to the table to attract employers to come to Fort Wayne, and the more we can attract people to move here, the more equipped we are for the future. So what we’re doing now is, we have more than a few financial tools to bring to the table. We have the offerings of the arts in our community as well.”

Earlier this year, the downtown “arts campus” was designated one of 12 Indiana State Cultural Districts. In 2019, it was estimated that the performing arts generated $28.6 million in local economic impact.

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