Recent ice storms were hard on many residents of the "Waynedale News" area as well as much of our region. As many readers are aware, heavy ice resulted in many fallen limbs with downed power lines and the loss of electric service. During that period of time I received calls from frustrated citizens and I made calls to AEP reminding them that citizens without power were waiting up to 2 to 3 days to have service restored. Ice storms have always been a big problem-sometimes they have been more disruptive to our daily activities than major snowstorms. On the other hand, it seems to me that the recent delays in restoring electrical service were much longer than usual. When government gives special benefits to a utility providing a service without the competition faced by other businesses the utility must provide enough staff to keep the system functioning—-even during an emergency. I'm planning to discuss this matter further with AEP with the goal of improving response times after any future electrical emergency. Let me know your thoughts regarding this issue.
The effort to rejuvenate Southtown Mall continues despite a mix of good news and bad news. As you are probably aware, Sears recently announced that they would be pulling out of the mall. On the other hand, after a vigorous effort by Mayor Graham Richard as well as many others including a bipartisan group of state officials a special district has been created for the Southtown Mall area. This district captures various tax revenues from the mall area itself and makes it possible for these dollars to be utilized for various improvements in the mall area such as a new connection to Highway 27, sewer improvements, and possibly other improvements to the property such as removing old fuel tanks, etc. I've talked with various decision makers including the mayor himself and have emphasized that everything possible must be done and done as soon as possible to save Southtown Mall which is important to the future of the south side of our city. I've received lots of calls and comments regarding Southtown—-give me a call at the number below (or email me) with your opinions or suggestions regarding Southtown Mall.
Since I was elected to City Council in 1995 I've devoted much time and effort toward working with neighborhoods and the Neighborhood Code Enforcement division of Fort Wayne city government to eliminate blighted properties. I've been frustrated at how challenging it is to clean up decrepit properties where city housing code is obviously being violated. I'm continuing to focus on this problem and during 2001 I will renew my efforts to upgrade problem properties that harm entire neighborhoods and damage the property values of nearby property owners.
As you are probably aware, Fort Wayne's Street Dept. under the leadership of Bob Kennedy (a Lakeshore Neighborhood resident) has a 24-hour pot hole hot line. The winter has been milder than usual but we've had some freezing and thawing which is the reason why potholes develop. If you see any potholes on our roads and streets be sure to call 427-1325—-the Street Dept.-tell the staff the location of the pothole and it will be filled.
Give me a call it you have any suggestions or questions!