The Pennsylvania Central Railroad that crossed the city from east to west was a magnet for the flourishing heavy industry of the early 20th Century. By 1980, this industrial corridor had lost its luster. Businesses were struggling and this manufacturing haven was in crisis. Residential areas near the industrial corridor began to suffer, too. Neighborhoods began to show distress as jobless or low-income homeowners tried to maintain aging homes.
The Fort Wayne Urban Enterprise Association debuted in 1984 with a revitalization plan to breathe new life and energy into the Fort Wayne’s industrial core. The UEA’s holistic approach to urban renewal has fortified the four-square-mile Zone by fostering growth of new and established businesses, creating and retaining jobs, making physical improvements, and enhancing the well-being of area residents.
From those days of crisis to today, the Urban Enterprise Association has been helping businesses and individuals face many challenges. The four-square-mile Enterprise Zone and its adjacent neighborhoods have accessed the resources of the UEA to address issues ranging from business expansion and creative reuse of old industrial facilities to childcare and literacy.