Committee recommends downtown Fort Wayne arena be built

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): After nearly a year of deliberation, The Downtown Arena Committee has unanimously recommended a downtown arena should be built in Fort Wayne.

“I think one of the things that made us all much more comfortable is when we came up with the idea of some sort of joint management,” Chuck Surack, Sweetwater founder and president told WOWO Monday. “When that happened we thought we could do this in a way that didn’t compete with the coliseum.”

Surack led the committee and said he feels the arena “would further strengthen Fort Wayne’s position as a leader in economic development” and “quality of place amenities.

(Photo Supplied/City of Fort Wayne)
(Photo Supplied/City of Fort Wayne)

If the arena or “The Center” is built, it would be located across from Parkview Field, with a walkway connecting it to the Grand Wayne Center.

It would be used for sports, concerts and mid-size events too large for the Grand Wayne Center and too small for the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. The committee is not recommending ice to be installed at the new arena, meaning the Fort Wayne Komets would continue to play at the Coliseum. Other ice-related events would also still be located at the Coliseum.

The plans for the arena includes about 5,000 to 6,000 seats as well as space for parking and restaurants. It would likely cost between $48 and $68 million.

Surack suggested using legacy funding or a new 1-cent food tax to fund the new arena, but not property taxes.

Surack noted during the press conference that there was a lot of uncertainty among people when Parkview Field was built, but the success of Parkview Field helped pave the way for other development nearby.

(Photo Supplied/City of Fort Wayne)
(Photo Supplied/City of Fort Wayne)

“The Center” would have events year-round, which would help nearby businesses and restaurants.

RELATED: Arena project decision coming soon, Mayor Tom Henry says


Downtown Arena Committee Recommendations by Saige Driver


  1. How did this go from something that had very little chance a year or so ago to ‘unanimous recommendation’? Sounds a little stacked to me! Put it on a voter referendum! After all, the voters are the ones who will have to pay for it!
    I am not interested in funding a ‘Tom Henry’ legacy project, regardless of how funding is proposed! If this project is viable, let Mr. Surack and his friends build it privately. Its too easy to commit public money to a project when the ones making the commitment have nothing to lose and everything to gain. This is just another albatross to be hung around the necks of the taxpayer!

    • 110% in agreement. Frivolous spending has worked well for Detroit (sarc.). We already have multiple venues in Fort Wayne ie: Coliseum, Parkview Field, Embassy, Pierre’s, and the soon to be Clyde Theater renovation that is supposed to be able to host concerts and entertainment. I am extremely tired of “commitees” deciding how we need to spend our tax money.

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