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May 28, 2024 | Jail project on hold, a local 'unicorn' to watch + more

May 28, 2024 | Jail project on hold, a local 'unicorn' to watch + more

Hey Locals,

Happy Memorial Day week! We have an abbreviated holiday issue for you, but it's full of news you won't want to miss, like a citizen group delaying construction of the new Allen County Jail and a local company aiming to achieve "unicorn" status.

We also dish on local food updates, including two new restaurants coming to Downtown and the grand opening of a distillery bottle shop in Quimby Village near the Clyde.

Don't forget: In May, we're also partnering with GK Cafe & Provisions to bring all paid subscribers one of their sinfully delicious Cinny Rolls for FREE. We give our paid members a freebie every month at a local business to cover the cost of membership. See what a paid membership is all about with this 30-day trial, and you can get that Cinny Roll, too! (We'll have a new deal for June coming next week.)

Our newsletter this month is brought to you by Visit Fort Wayne and our paid subscribers.

Now, let's get started!

NOTE: Links to Journal Gazette articles are marked(*) and may be behind a paywall.

A rendering of The Pearl, a new mixed-use development at 248 W. Main St., by Surack Enterprises where the restaurant Ducky's will be located.
  • Financing and construction of the new Allen County Jail is delayed, as the result of a tax court appeal by the citizen group, Allen County Residents Against the Jail. The controversial $316 million new jail set for 2911 Meyer Rd. (near New Haven) was supposed to break ground this spring. But a citizen group made up of nearby residents has filed lawsuits contesting the validity of its lease arrangement in both the Indiana Tax Court (state) and Allen Superior Court (county). It claims the funding plan is unlawful and a less costly way to upgrade the current jail Downtown should be considered. As you may remember: The proposed new jail is part of a "Long Term Plan" by the Allen County Commissioners in response to a 2020 federal lawsuit, alleging understaffing, overcrowding and inhumane conditions at the current jail. County officials filed a status update in federal court last week, explaining that large components of the new jail are on hold until the state tax court appeal is resolved. So far, Allen Superior Court Judge Craig Bobay has put the county case on hold, ordering both parties to submit joint status reports in July and December. The state tax court appeal has also been delayed because a judge recused himself from the case. If the citizen group is successful in either case, it may have "a significant detrimental effect on the funding of the new Allen County Jail,” the update says. Officials also note that the longer construction is delayed, the more a new jail is likely to cost taxpayers.*
  • Local company Medical Informatics Engineering (MIE) is poised to achieve "unicorn" status and boost Fort Wayne's entrepreneurial scene. MIE started in 1995 to track and share health information for northern Indiana medical providers online. Fueled by changes in the industry post-pandemic, it expanded its clinic and hospital data management platform to serve corporate workplaces and now counts five top Fortune 500 companies as clients. The past six years, it's grown at an average rate of 40% and seen major investment from the Austin, TX-based private equity firm, Serent Capital. During the next five years, it hopes to scale its health platform into new regions to achieve a $1 billion valuation, earning “unicorn” status in the financial markets. Locally, it has a large office at Electric Works and "wants Fort Wayne’s economy to grow in tandem with its success," The JG* reports. Leaders at Electric Works hope MIE is part of a “center of gravity” for tech and innovation-based entrepreneurship there, specifically.

In local food updates...

Plus: Another new restaurant Downtown, school board seats up for election, neighborhood planning processes and more. Read all about it in our premium newsletter.

Pro tip: Take your Deck drinks to go on an impromptu Open Boat Night with Rum Runner party boats for $10.
  • Catch: a $10 party boat ride at The Deck (bring cash). On select "Open Boat Nights," Rum Runners are offering impromptu 30-minute cruises along the St. Marys, first come, first served. Watch Instagram for announcements. We caught one Friday night just before the storm rolled in.
  • Sample: spirits at the grand opening of Hatfield & Sons Distillery's new Bottle Shop in Quimby Village on May 30 at 1818 Bluffton Rd. The shop will be Thursdays-Saturdays, 1-6 p.m. Its products are currently featured in 18 restaurants and bars in Fort Wayne and surrounding cities.
  • Attend: a showing of the original Mean Girls (with trivia) at Cinema Center for the film's 20th anniversary. Showtimes at 7 p.m. May 31 & June 1 (with additional showtimes until 6/13).

What else? Learn about more events in our premium newsletter.

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Have a great week, Locals!

-Your Editor, Kara Hackett