#People of NEI: Dan, planning places to interact in Fort Wayne

Northeast Indiana is evolving. These are the people shaping its future. #PeopleofNEI

This week's feature:

Dan is a City Planner and Public Art Manager in the Community Development Division. He is currently part of the team that is writing the Public Art Master Plan for Fort Wayne about how to invest in public art for the next 10 years. Originally from Ohio, he talks about Fort Wayne and why it will always be his home. He was photographed at a public meeting for public art. “I have loved neighborhoods ever since I was growing up in a dying, rustbelt town in Ohio. I loved what brought people together and how they bonded, and that’s what spurred me on about my passion to build and be a part of good neighborhoods. A neighborhood is where you interact the most and create relationships to explore and fall in love with your city. It’s where the immediate decisions are made that affect your life. That is why public art is so important. It is the visual manifestation of our culture. It’s expressing our cultural values and beliefs. It’s a community coming together with a focal point to express our identity. When I moved to Fort Wayne 8 years ago, I wanted to meet the change makers. What that did is it changed how I looked at the entire community including the up-and-comers and underdogs and I knew I wanted to be a part of that. I had job offers in Louisville and Spokane. I flew out for interviews and to see the cities but I couldn’t get Fort Wayne out of my mind. I remember landing at the Fort Wayne International Airport and receiving one of those famous Fort Wayne cookies. I just stared at it and knew I couldn’t leave. I wanted to plant my roots here and I am so glad I made that decision. Now, look how far our city has come. The other day I went to Promenade Park with friends and then walked to The Porch Off Calhoun, the TinCaps, and the new Conner’s Rooftop. I was watching all these people making connections and forming a community. Watching two strangers striking up a conversation is everything. It’s why I do this. It’s all worth it. My biggest hope for Fort Wayne is that people fall in love with it as much as I have. I’m all in. Two hundred percent in.” #PeopleofNEI

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Read more articles by Stephen J. Bailey.

Stephen J. Bailey is a Fort Wayne native and the owner of PH Digital that was founded in 2006. Based out of the Anthony Wayne Building in downtown Fort Wayne, he specializes in web development, SEO development, social media management, and digital marketing campaigns with numerous companies in northeast Indiana. Stephen loves road trips, sushi, his pups, and spending time on our three rivers.
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