GiaQuinta: Fort Wayne part of pilot program encouraging entrepreneurship, innovation

May 1, 2017 Phil GiaQuinta

INDIANAPOLIS – Fort Wayne is one of two cities designated to serve as a pilot program for a new state law co-sponsored by State Rep. Phil GiaQuinta (D-Fort Wayne). This economic development-minded legislation is designed to encourage local entrepreneurial growth and innovation.

Senate Enrolled Act 514, signed into law by Gov. Eric Holcomb today, calls for the establishment of entrepreneur and enterprise districts throughout Fort Wayne and Lafayette. They would serve as pilot programs for five years and could have strong implications for the state.

“This is the latest step in an ongoing effort in trying to figure out how to use and attract local entrepreneurial leaders to help spur economic development in our community,” GiaQuinta said. “One of the things I like most about this program is that it gives the leadership responsibilities for the program to local officials. The administration will be handled locally through citizens selected by the mayor and the city council, and they will have all opportunities to have hands-on management of the program, including regular yearly progress reports.”

Once established, the districts would be eligible for state grants and local tax incentives, GiaQuinta noted.

“The Fort Wayne district could receive up to $1 million in grants each fiscal year from the Indiana Twenty-First Century Research and Technology Fund through the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC),” GiaQuinta said. “In addition, other incentives could include an exclusion from the 30 percent valuation floor for depreciable personal property, a property tax deduction for certain investments, and a property tax abatement deduction for vacant buildings in a district.”

Management of the districts would come from a board of directors consisting of either the local Urban Enterprise Association or seven members selected by the mayor and the Fort Wayne City Council.

“The program recognizes the potential value that can come from encouraging local innovators to explore turning their dreams into reality, and using that spirit to target areas of our city that could readily benefit from the commercial and residential development,” GiaQuinta said.

“Our community already has made great strides in becoming the hub for innovation in Northeast Indiana, and this legislation will enable us to stay on the cutting edge on economic development and growth for years to come,” he concluded.