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Parkview gives Slocum critics concession

August 15, 2018 GMT

Neighbors opposing the Slocum Pointe affordable-housing project on Fort Wayne’s north side learned Tuesday afternoon they’d won a major concession from developers.

Officials said they are now limiting eligibility for the project’s 43 units to ages 55 and over and people with disabilities.

Eighty percent of the one- and two-bedroom units will go to older people, while 20 percent will be earmarked for the disabled of any age, officials announced at a meeting with about 30 selected neighbors at Parkview Hospital Randallia.

In addition, Parkview has committed to contributing $84,000 toward neighborhood infrastructure improvements, which could include curbs and sidewalks and park improvements, said Ben Miles, president of Parkview Regional Medical Center.

That figure was the same as the selling price for the property, which includes the former Frances Slocum Elementary School that Parkview had used for offices.

Neighbors, however, did not get everything they wanted. A second, two-story building with affordable-housing units will still be built.

Neighbors had objected to that building, contending the density of residents would put a strain on the neighborhood, which has narrow streets and limited parking.

“I know you don’t want the new building, but it has to happen,” said Dawn Galloway of Keller Development, Fort Wayne. The second building is needed to make the project financially feasible and comply with government-funding requirements.

Limiting the project to seniors “is one of the ways we know to lower density,” she said.  

Galloway added she would investigate limiting the number of vehicles per unit or resident in leases because of concerns that the 55 proposed spaces would not be enough. But she said her experiences with other similar projects showed that 55 spaces would be sufficient.  

A suggestion also was made to designate some parking spaces in a nearby park for residents : although it was unclear whether the spaces would be for existing neighbors or project residents.

After a series of neighborhood meetings and protests, residents reached an agreement with Parkview that no decisions would be made  about the property’s disposition until after Tuesday’s meeting. About 80 residents waited outside the meeting for news.

After the meeting, resident Lisa Jackson said neighbors had hired an attorney but had no immediate plan for litigation. She said they “just wanted another set of ears”  and that she was relieved at the decision to limit occupancy to older adults.

“We never expected it to happen,” she said.

rsalter@jg.net