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Student Views: Does Fort Wayne Need a Midsized Arena Downtown?

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Written by: Communicator StaffMarch 31, 2016

In 2015, the city commissioned a study to explore the possible benefits of building a mid-size arena in downtown Fort Wayne.

Conducted by the development advisor group, Hunden Strategic Partners, the study proposed that the arena be built on the city-block that sits between Parkview Field and the Allen County Public Library.

The study also found that the arena would be a boon to other downtown businesses and would increase demand for new events. With the planned capacity of the arena being about 5,500 seats, it would provide more variety to the list of Fort Wayne venues. The Allen County War Memorial holds 13,00 seats and the Embassy Theatre holds about 2,500.

Two weeks ago, a 19-member committee tasked with assessing the viability of the proposed arena agreed that it would beneficial to the Fort Wayne’s economic development, according to a press release from the City’s website.

The committee also recommended not to use property taxes to pay for the arena. They are open to the city raising the city’s food and beverage tax by one cent, however.

Mayor Tom Henry said the next step will be for his office to go over the commitee’s recommendations with the Allen County Comissioners, the press release said.

 

“I feel like since we already have the Coliseum and The Embassy it wouldn’t really encourage more people to come here. It would just divide up the acts that already come here into another venue,” Luisa Luciano, political science major, said. “If they have the money to do it, go ahead and do it. I guess I don’t have a problem with [the arena]. It just feels unnecessary.” 

“I’m all for growing Fort Wayne … [the arena] would definitely help bring more attractions here,” Rebecca Sullivan, senior communications major, said. “I think more and more young people are moving to the city and they are craving things, like the Fort Wayne Sport and Social Club. It’s new, but it’s booming.” 

“[The city] worries about the whole drugs and alcohol and all that stuff, but if there’s nothing really for kids younger and in high school to do and go have fun with that’s what they are going to do. They are going to go party and drink and get drunk and make stupid choices,” Damien Brewster, senior nursing major, said. “Stuff like [the arena] would help … having more concerts here or having more events to go and experience.” 

“I’m not really originally from Fort Wayne, so building an arena doesn’t personally affect me. However, I think it could be a good idea,” Kate Keil, junior nursing major, said.