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We have compiled a list of local and regional resources...

for everyone from the next generation home owner to the growing business. It is our goal for everyone to enjoy all the benefits that are available. These resources are designed to help maintain and grow our communities.

And if you haven't already, check out our Regional Development Plan!

What are gateways? 

Gateways are defined as the main entrances to cities, towns, downtowns, and even specific neighborhoods. They are essentially the "front door," and serve as the first point at which a visitor develops an initial impression of the community. Also, as visitors typically are moving from rural agricultural land into an organized pattern or clustering of streets, businesses, and residences, gateways act to announce the transition between these two contrasting areas. Some gateway examples in Fort Wayne include the Martin Luther King, Jr. bridge at the entrance to Headwaters Park and downtown, the "Welcome to Fort Wayne" signs spelled out in vegetation at Swinney Park and on Bluffton Road, and the bicentennial markers at the city's five entrances.


Why develop gateways?

Gateways help to define a community's image and create a sense of place. They may influence a variety of visitors including potential employers looking to invest in the community, existing employers trying to attract highly qualified employees, and those looking for a new place to spend a few days or live several years. The successful attraction and retention of these various audiences is essential to a community's growth and sustainability. Developing and maintaining gateways also demonstrates that the community cares about and invests in itself.


How are gateways developed?

As with any successful project, the best way to go about enhancing gateways is to first develop a plan of action. In 2011, the neighboring city of Fort Wayne went through a planning process to create Front Door Fort Wayne, a plan that provides the framework for improving the appearance, efficiency, and economic potential of the city's major gateways.


The planning process included the following:

  1. Formation of an advisory committee to help develop the overall gateway strategy 

  2. Interviewing community stakeholders to gauge their level of interest in and commitment to the project as well as to hear their ideas on needed areas of development or improvement.

  3. Holding community meetings to gather public input on proposed ideas and concepts.

  4. Determining and mapping out specific gateways in need of development or improvement

Major elements of the gateway plan include:

  1. Policy recommendations (providing direction on how the gateway areas should be designed and maintained)

    • Maintenance and sustainability of publicly-owned property

    • Community identity, culture, and heritage 

    • Corridor design 

    • Private property maintenance and design standards 

    • Adoption and implementation

  2. Specific project recommendations (including examples from other towns and cities)

    • Gateway corridors

    • Downtown gateways

    • Interchange gateways

  3. Implementation plan

    • Priorities

    • Funding



Front Door Fort Wayne

City of Chesapeake, Virginia - Design Guidelines Manual

Planning a Better Community Entrance

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