News release from the AWS Foundation:
AWS Foundation Commissions Study for a Downtown Arena with Focus on Disabilities
(August 27, 2013) – The AWS Foundation’s board of directors has commissioned a study to assess the feasibility of building a multi-use, downtown sports arena to serve the needs of individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities and their families, and the community at-large.
For some time, the AWS Foundation has been considering large-scale opportunities to establish Fort Wayne as a model community that welcomes individuals and families with disabilities by providing an array of quality resources to help them thrive in all aspects of life. Focus groups recently conducted by the AWS Foundation indicated critical needs in two areas, recreation and access, and such an arena would address both needs.
“We want to make a long-lasting impact in the community and it is through such a project that we can add to and enhance existing resources for our citizens with disabilities,” said Patti Hays, the Foundation’s board chair. “While we are excited about the possibilities an access-rich sporting arena would bring to the downtown landscape, we need to first determine if such a facility makes fiscal sense.”
Victus Advisors, based in Park City, Utah, has been retained to conduct the feasibility study. They have extensive experience in market research and venue analysis, plus a working familiarity of the Fort Wayne market as they are currently assisting with a study through the Legacy Fort Wayne initiative to evaluate youth sports opportunities. The study commissioned by the AWS Foundation will consist of a market demand analysis, financial projections and an assessment of the economic and fiscal impact, with an expected completion date in late 2013.
“We continue to see unprecedented positive momentum in our downtown,” said Mayor Tom Henry. “The City of Fort Wayne supports the efforts of the AWS Foundation to conduct this important study to gauge opportunities to enhance our community. I’m encouraged by the excitement and commitment to ensuring that Fort Wayne is a destination place for future growth and success.”
About the AWS Foundation
Founded in 2007, the AWS Foundation supports organizations and programs that benefit people with disabilities and their families in northeast Indiana. The Foundation’s mission is to help children and adults with enduring intellectual and physical disabilities live as independently as possible, be included in the community and function at their highest potential. The disability population is the largest minority population in the United States; nearly 15% of residents in northeast Indiana reported a disability in the 2011 American Community Survey.