By the time you read this Councilman's Corner column a final City Council vote may have been taken regarding Mayor Graham Richard's plan to rejuvenate Southtown Mall. The chances are very great that the plan, which spreads the financial risk among Menard's, the developer, and the City of Fort Wayne, will pass a Council vote. As I see it, this plan to save Southtown Mall may well be our last chance. As Councilman Glynn Hines put it, Southtown is "a hole in the bottom of the boat" and everyone in Fort Wayne will be better off when it's fixed. I voted "yes" on the preliminary vote and I'm likely to do the same on the final vote pending review of further information to be presented to Council.
On January 27th I announced that I'm running for City Council in this year's city election. I've enjoyed getting to know lots of folks in Waynedale and Indian Village and I look forward to hopefully having the opportunity to serve the citizens of the 4th District once again.
As I mentioned in a recent column, planning continues for new directional turn signals at the Bluffton Road—Lower Huntington Road intersection. As you know, some adjustments were made to the traffic flow patterns at that intersection. These improvements helped, but significant problems remained. The current hang up in moving this project forward is funding. Adequate dollars were originally available—it will take more than $30,000—but those dollars were spent on other projects elsewhere in the city during the ongoing debate regarding the proper signalization of that intersection. I've set aside some 4th District CEDIT funds but more funding has to be obtained. I'll pass along an update later. Thanks to everyone—especially SE Waynedale Association President Beulah Stoker who circulated a petition signed by over 1000 citizens and over 30 businesses—for all of your hard work on this challenging project!
I've received quite a few calls recently regarding a property on Ardmore Avenue for which several zoning variances have been granted by the Board of Zoning Appeals followed by the construction of large buildings and the housing of several trucks and other vehicles on the property. The BZA and the city planning staff are still working on these questions. It's actually fairly common for the BZA to allow some business activity in residential areas, especially since the current philosophy has been to make it possible for a home-owner to start a business at his or her home rather than purchasing a separate commercial property. I'll keep working on the Ardmore Avenue zoning matter and seek an outcome that will be fair to all parties.
Keep warm! Give me a call or send me an email with any suggestions or problems. If you ever call or email me and don't receive an answer, contact me again just in case the message didn't make it to me. I can't solve every problem, but I'll sure try!
City Councilman, 4th District
City Councilman Tom Hayhurst welcomes your calls on the monthly "Council Call-In" Show on City TV, cable channel 58. Viewers may call in at 422-8708.