Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Broad Rebuttal

City's history on Broadway
Retain last remnants of Fort Wayne's past

"The West Central Neighborhood Association, a non-profit organization representing about 3,800 people and numerous businesses, spent more than a year developing and adopting a plan that now serves as a guide for improvements and investments in the neighborhood. Historic preservation is a central theme of the plan because the neighborhood organization recognizes its proven economic, cultural and social benefits.

Developed with the assistance of city staff, the plan was amended into the city's comprehensive plan by a unanimous vote of the current City Council. It truly saddens us that Councilmen John Crawford, Tom Didier, Tom Hayhurst and Glynn Hines could overlook the hard work of the people of the West Central Neighborhood Association and a plan they approved. They also failed to apply the policy governing the creation of a local historic district, which calls for a majority of property owners, not the owner of the majority of property, to favor the designation. A majority of property owners did favor the designation despite misinformation supplied in the editorial “Unjustified property limits” (June 11). St. John's Lutheran Evangelical Church was the lone property owner in opposition."

"The editorial claimed that the designation could “severely hinder - or prohibit - the planned school expansion.” While St. John's has a dream to expand someday, it has not revealed plans that illustrate how the land would be used, and it has admitted that it currently does not have the money to finance an expansion project. Further threatening their dream is the fact that it does not yet own all of the property they think they need - these property owners favored the local historic district and do not plan on selling anytime soon."

"It has been proven that property values in the West Central Local Historic District are higher than similar areas in Fort Wayne that are not local historic districts. Studies in Indiana and across the country have shown that local historic districts help raise property values."

"What has contributed to the lowering of property values in this block of Broadway is neglect of most of the buildings currently owned by St. John's, and the editorial failed to mention that much of the decline of those buildings occurred during the time when members of the church owned them. This is clearly an illustration of demolition by neglect - not actions of good neighbors."

"Finally, it is unfortunate that St. John's and the editorial writer failed to consider the potential of the adaptive reuse of the existing structures as learning space. These historically and architecturally significant structures could provide for an enriching educational opportunity for the students because they would serve as living laboratories for learning about the history of the neighborhood and historic architecture. When St. John's demolishes the buildings, this potential learning experience will be gone forever, not to mention the existence of what few remaining remnants of historic Fort Wayne we have around."

Previous DFWB posts regarding the Broadway block

Broadway Designation
WGDT Update
What's Goin' Down(town) III


John B. Kalb said...

Scott S. Great comments on this subject. I agree with you (and with Scott G. also).
Now if I just could get you two to look at Memorial Stadium the same way.............
(It's worth updating and saving also! John B. Kalb

Scott said...

Except for the fact that MS is not historically or architecturally significant.

John B. Kalb said...

Non-S. or G. Scott - But MS will be historic - THE SHORTEST-LIVED CLASS 3A BALLPARK IN HISTORY. Isn't this just great! John B. Kalb

Eliot said...

John, that's the kind of "history" I favor! ;-)

We would probably agree that not everything should be saved, but only significant things. Of course, many times that involved subjectivity, but it's worth having the discussion.

Scott Greider said...

Oops... that last comment from "eliot" was really from me. I'm using a friend's computer.

Scott Greider