Editor's note: Rosie O'Grady is co-chair of the Northwest Area Partnership of neighborhoods. The Your Neighbor column is written by a member of a local nonprofit group and appears frequently in Neighbors.
Like many other organizations, the Northwest Area Partnership has its hiccups along the way, and it's time to go back to the drawing board to review and regroup, which we will do Thursday.
We have invited a guest speaker to guide us through this process and prefer to keep the name anonymous. If you attend, you will hear everything you ever wanted to learn about partnership and come away with a new perspective, I promise you.
Our May meeting began with introductions and thanks given to Northridge Baptist Church (our hosts), Ken Woodis, and to John Morton and “Chow” Plumley for donating that night's refreshments.
Christopher Bradley of IPFW's Center for Social Research gave an interesting presentation of the latest park survey, which is done every five years for accreditation. Four thousand people were surveyed, which resulted in a 16.3 percent response.
Under “Features most needed” were good restrooms and drinking water. The Fun Times magazine continues to be the best source of reference for park information, and requests for more water parks topped the list, accompanied by trails. Overall, eight out of 10 people surveyed were highly satisfied with the parks.
Cindy Joyner, director of Neighborhood Code, spoke about Chapters 150 and 152 drafts, which expire July 1. Code is concentrating on shorter windows for violations. For instance, if we had a bed-bug infestation, the usual 60 days will be disastrous for the city. Reducing the time after a violation is cited to 10-20 days would move the process along better, especially in health issues. The right-to-appeal process is seldom used, and, in the future, these cases would go directly to court. Neighborhood Code has more than 2,300 properties reported this year.
Greenway Manager Dawn Ritchie spoke about our present trails and those to be expanded in the future. In trails, we are sixth in Indiana with 68 miles of trails in our city. Dawn spoke about Pine Mills to Interstate 69, Pokagon to Quabache state parks and its Pufferbelly Trail portion in Allen County, and the one coming to the Chapel Ridge Interchange.
Mary Huth, Neighborhood Liaison, reports that more than 4,000 people worked the Great American Cleanup in May, beautifying our city. Dead ash trees will be removed from park strips in the city. Since there's no money to replace these trees, you can buy trees for your park strip by calling Chad Tinkel at 311.
Allen Lauer of the City Utilities Advisory Group reported sewage-treatment capacity will increase from 70 million gallons a day to 85 million gallons once the City Council approves the needed expenditure.
Lauer testified against the proposed I&M rate increase that would increase your bill … (about $20 per month), which is detrimental, especially to seniors living on fixed incomes. This rate increase must be defeated as unacceptable and usurious.
Seniors can be able to make home improvements through the Area III Agency on Aging by calling 745-1200, or a 3 percent interest city loan program is also available.
Fort Wayne Fire Department blamed the gas blowout on St. Joe Center Road recently as a utility cutting into the line. The Fort Wayne Police Department reported crime is up for the year by 6 percent.
City Councilman Russ Jehl, R-2nd, reports $2 million to $3 million in CEDIT dollars will help dead-tree removal. County Councilman Nelson Peters, R-1st District, reported that there will be a combined meeting of mayors and county commissioners in our 10-county area.
Don't forget our meeting topic Thursday will be “Partnerships 101,” and we hope you can make it. We don't meet in July, but the August meeting topic will be “Legislative.”