Working together isn't always easy, but it's always the right thing to do.
Collaboration and cooperation are words and concepts we teach our children, but as adults we don't always see them implemented in our everyday life. But these are concepts I live by and hope that others see in me.
As an athlete, first at Central Catholic and then at the University of Notre Dame, I learned that no one person is as strong as the team. As a coach and teacher for our youth, I realized you're only successful as a group; unless everyone knows the play it may not work.
I have carried this with me in my life, instilling it in my children and sharing it with my family and co-workers. It is what motivates me to be a leader, serving the community as a member of City Council.
The community has collaborated extensively over the past few years on a couple of great projects, and I've been pleased to be a part of all of them.
I had the pleasure of touring Electric Works recently and am blown away by all the progress made on the campus. Architecturally, the buildings are taking shape and will soon be welcoming people. But on a deeper level, the campus is beginning to resemble a gathering place, with defined spaces for dining and shopping in addition to working.
The recent announcement of Phase II, with living spaces, child care and other amenities, is making the project really come to life. I'm so excited for the public to see how all of these partners are working together and how the entire project will benefit the entire community.
Soon, I will bring forth another collaboration – the Legacy Fund request for the Arts Campus renovations. The vision is to have a thriving community, with the arts – both participation in and access to – playing an integral role.
The arts come in all shapes and sizes, and there's literally something for every taste.
The Arts Campus, and Arts United by extension, is the home for local arts in Fort Wayne. Having access to a community theater, a professional ballet and all the other great organizations that utilize the Arts United Center is just so important to Fort Wayne's continued role as a leader throughout the region.
In most communities, there is a public, governmental investment in the arts. In many places the facilities are publicly owned. In others, there is operating support.
As a community, we need to support the arts in order for them to thrive. We need to support investing in the big arts, such as the Philharmonic and the Civic Theatre, but we also must focus on the smaller groups like the Art Leadership Center and others who are working in our neighborhoods, with children and adults, to improve access. This access moves us forward.
I will be sponsoring this request for Legacy funding with my colleague across the aisle, Councilman Glynn Hines, with the support of Mayor Tom Henry's administration and hope that my other colleagues will recognize how investing in the arts is an investment in ourselves and in the future of Fort Wayne.
No one can go at it alone. There's no way to move the community forward without a strong base of collaboration and teamwork.
I commend my colleagues and community leaders who look to work with others to accomplish tasks and move ideas forward. And to all others I send this message: I'm always available to work with you or connect you to the right person or group.
Let's all collaborate to continue to move Fort Wayne forward.
Tom Frei-stroffer is an at-large member of the Fort Wayne City Council.