For many years the Fort-to-Port Improvement Organization has been synonymous with the U.S. 24 widening project, but it has been essentially disbanded -- and happily so. That's because the advocacy group's reason for existing -- seeing that U.S. 24 becomes four lanes from Fort Wayne to Toledo -- has been accomplished.
There is a small section that still needs to be completed just east of Fort Wayne, but that is expected to be open by year's end. So you could probably say that Fort-to-Port was officially put to rest Tuesday afternoon near Waterville during a ceremony commemorating the opening of the U.S. 24 section between there and Napoleon.
One man who worked so hard to see it through -- former Fort-to-Port chairman Jamie Black -- basically made this announcement Tuesday. In taking note of those who've worked diligently to make the new road possible, Black said he was "looking forward ... to this being my absolute last formal function, and then we can sort of bury Fort-to-Port ... ."
For more than two decades the organization worked to make a widened U.S. 24 a reality. So it deserves a good deal of credit. Taxpayers ultimately made this possible with the expenditure of more than $550 million in two states. But the fortitude of those in the early going was key to getting us to this point. As Black indicated, it might now be too difficult to get a project like this going.