Broadway has experienced some noteworthy changes in the past year through investments by our city government and by private property owners. There are several accomplishments and updates to report.
The first annual general membership meeting of Business On Broadway was held on January 8, 2009 at St. Joe Hospital. This was the first “official” action by a small group of Broadway business owners who had been working for about three years prior to that to create a business association and to generate enthusiasm for a revived and prosperous Broadway Corridor.
At that meeting, By-laws to govern the organization were reviewed and discussed and amendments were suggested and voted on. A copy of the current by-laws is available on our website at www.broadwayfortwayne.com. At this same meeting various membership levels and associated dues were discussed and approved. An election was held to appoint new officers and board directors. This board has met monthly throughout 2009.
Our organization has been incorporated as Business On Broadway, Inc., a 501 (c)6 non-profit corporation. Articles of Incorporation were submitted and a federal tax identification number obtained. Further documentation for the not-for-profit status was required and this is being completed and submitted.
We have established a method for retaining our set of official documents and all pertinent records including the by-laws, minutes, reports, etc.
Our treasurer opened savings and checking accounts for the organization at the Midwest America Federal Credit Union located on Sweeny just off of Broadway.
Business On Broadway addressed the Fort Wayne City Council in support of the Commercial Code ordinance which was passed and established. This ordinance gives The City additional authority in their attempts to enforce regulations on the appearance and maintenance of commercial properties. We also supported the Wells Street Corridor Association at City Council and Plan Commission meetings with regard to issues affecting the community development action plans for their area.
In March, Broadway received very positive publicity with the “Welcome Spring” grand re-opening of Zesto complete with news crews and interviews. As everyone knows, it truly isn’t spring in Fort Wayne until the Zesto at Broadway and Creighton is open for business.
City Councilperson Karen Goldner featured the Broadway Corridor on her television program which runs several times each month on the local city government channel. Nancy Schoenle provided information pertaining to the city facade grant recipients on Broadway and the Family Fun Fest during an interview with Karen.
McCulloch Park was one of the designated locations for “The Great Tree Canopy Comeback” with several volunteers planting approximately twenty trees throughout the park in November 2008. This park is recognized as a Legacy Park and has been serving Broadway and Fort Wayne for over 120 years. The bandstand gazebo was refurbished by the Parks Department during the spring of 2009 and new playground equipment and benches were installed at the park.
The Business On Broadway Family Fun Fest was held on June 6th at McCulloch Park. This event featured food, entertainment, fun games and children’s activities sponsored by Broadway businesses, local charitable organizations such as SCAN and the ACSPCA had booths, a raffle offering several nice prizes was held, we were joined by Johnny, the Tin Caps mascot, and it was a chance for Broadway vendors to promote their businesses. Parks Department representatives were on-hand to officially re-dedicate the newly refurbished park gazebo. There were performances by the Fort Wayne Area Community Band, Coventry Taekwondo, PEto the Magician, and two young local musicians performed wonderful original compositions. Children were able to see a fire truck and visit with firefighters. A police officer and his canine partner provided a review of commands and tricks. The event was a success with approximately 180 parents and children attending.
The petition for the re-zoning of the area north of the railroad tracks at General Electric is still in process. We have received signatures of support from several of the property owners. We will continue to contact property owners regarding the merits of the petition with out-of-town property owners being contacted via mail.
Throughout the year, the Business On Broadway board has made an on-going effort to reach out to new members and encourage their participation in our organization.
DesignFactore continues to manage our organization’s website by posting pertinent information and highlighting various businesses located on Broadway.
Six Broadway businesses were recipients of the 2009 City Facade Grant program. The businesses are: Gouloff-Jordan at 1133, the Old Mill Properties building at 1309 where Knitting Off Broadway is located, IntraScape at 1401, the George’s International complex at Broadway and Taylor, Metro Realty at 2042 and Zesto at Broadway and Creighton. Approximately 1/3 of the over $400,000 in 2009 grant money was committed to Broadway projects.
Other noteworthy changes to the Broadway Corridor in 2009 include over $100,000 invested by St. Joe Hospital for landscaping, awnings and signage and the dedication of their garden area in memory of Jerry Henry, Sr. Delaney’s at 1421 Broadway has joined our neighborhood bringing their upholstery business and an art gallery. The rehabilitation of the building located at Jefferson and Broadway is nearing completion. In addition, Mad Anthony Brewing Co. established a beer garden behind their restaurant at Broadway and Taylor and are finalizing plans for more changes in 2010. Very visible to downtown visitors, especially any visiting team outfielder at Parkview Field, is the newly renovated and brightly lit General Electric sign.
While we were greatly saddened by the departure of Catablu, we are thrilled to have Chappell’s open on Broadway once again. Thank you for coming back home! And we welcome The Philmore to our Broadway family and congratulate them as they prepare the building that formerly housed Catablu for their new venture.
The Fire Fighters Union Local 124 championed our “Patriotic Broadway” program by coordinating a discount coupon with G I Joe’s on Wells Street and providing information on proper flag etiquette and a list of patriotic holiday dates. Information about this program is posted on our Broadway website.
We worked with the City of Fort Wayne to identify and designate all available on-street parking spots on Broadway so that business patrons and guests and residents know where to park, which is usually only a few steps away from their destination.
Along with a couple property owners, the Business On Broadway board members met with Mayor Tom Henry, plus a few staff members, on September 2nd for a tour of Broadway. We started at St. Joe Hospital and walked to the fountain plaza in the 2700 block and back again during which time we discussed future plans for our corridor as well as opportunities for improvements.
The Shine and Hardin Christmas event was held on November 20th. Once again they sponsored a beautiful tree located on the plaza in front of their building. Santa and Mrs. Claus were there to greet children, the polar express train provided rides, children were able to see and pet a reindeer, and all enjoyed treats and entertainment including the Imagine School choir. Many other Broadway businesses joined in the celebration by creating their own holiday displays with lights and decorations.
We look forward to 2010 and will continue to work for improvements to our Broadway corridor. Brian Schaper of Metro Realty is developing a list of available commercial properties for sale or for lease. We plan to sponsor a couple tailgate events to be held in the Fire Fighters Union parking lot prior to Tin Caps baseball games. We encourage everyone to participate in the Great American Clean-Up on May 15th. Please take the opportunity to not only make improvements to your own property but to help a neighbor as well. Small acts such as picking up litter, sweeping sidewalks, planting flowers and flying your flag will go a long way in enhancing our Broadway Corridor. And join us in helping Shine and Hardin light up Broadway for the holidays in November. We would love to see all Broadway businesses and homes decorated with sparkling white lights and other holiday adornments so that when the tree at the Shine and Hardin offices is illuminated on November 19th, all of Broadway can then join in and show our holiday spirit.
To all of our members and especially to those who have been actively involved as an officer, a board member or by serving on a committee, Thank you for your support of the Broadway Corridor and thank you for your support of the efforts of our organization, Business On Broadway.