The Redevelopment Commission has taken aim at an entire block of West Central homes located near Parkview Field. Twelve of the 13 homes are either rentals or are vacant – owned by absentee landlords who have simply allowed them to fall into disrepair.
The block contains several homes that at one time were magnificent specimens with their turrets and grand designs. Yet, over the years, speculators have entered the picture, snapping up the homes through tax sales or foreclosures. And, the focus of speculation? Betting on the City’s appetite for implementing its “Around the Square” plan initiated several years ago. According to the media, the plan is to demolish the homes and build new – either condos or rentals. Not one mention of restoration.
The above home is one of my favorites. Although I have not been inside to see what it looks like, I have pressed my face against many of the windows to try to see what remains of a once-grand interior. Hardwood floors, wood trim not found in new homes, pocket doors and French doors. All will be lost to the wrecking ball and with little notice by many of our Fort Wayne residents.
It just doesn’t seem to matter to many in the City who would rather see cookie-cutter subdivisions spring up than undertake the effort to save and restore these older, once-magnificent, historic homes. Not one person from the City bothered to communicate with us here in West Central to apprise us of the plans. I, as president of West Central, have emailed the head of the department responsible for these decisions. That was last Wednesday and, so far, no response.
Working quickly and without communication, of course, prevents the formation of opposition. How many times will be subjected to this method of planning? The bottom line is that our urban core neighborhoods deserve better.