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Tips learned from regional neighborhoods conference shared at NWAP meeting

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What: Monthly meeting of the Northwest Area Partnership of neighborhoods.
When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday
Where: Northridge Baptist Church, 1300 E. Cook Road
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Wednesday, November 14, 2012 - 12:01 am

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.

The October NWAP meeting was called to order following those attending introducing their associations. We thanked Northridge Baptist Church for hosting and the volunteers for setting up and tearing down and donating refreshments. Terry Sheets encouraged everyone to use both our website and Facebook page for quicker communication. September's minutes were read and approved.

Several people who attended the recent Regional Neighborhood Network Conference held here commented on some of the classes.

Jeryl Cook of Concordia Gardens addition reported approximately 250 people attended representing four states. He spoke about one of the tours to Kreager Park (Boundless Playground for handicapped children) and also about the Armadillo (retrofitted armored car) used by the police, which is parked in front of a suspicious property. This vehicle records and films activity at that location, and, needless to say, the house becomes vacant quite quickly.

Denny Zimmerman of Northwest Lima Woods addition commented on a class he attended, “Out of the Mouths of Babes.” This class involved youth in growing the organization, and the youth wanted to be involved, not just referred to. He also attended another class where they taught how to interview a neighbor when they make a complaint or have a question, and we hope to have that on our website soon.

Reports were given as follows:

•Neighborhood Code Enforcement has completed their last weed violation postings for this year, and two new employees have been hired to replace several that retired. There's a rumor that Centlivre Village Apartments has received an offer to be purchased, and we hope this materializes bringing Centlivre back once again to a nice, viable place to live.

•Fort Wayne Fire Department cautioned against burning leaves or debris and advised about the safe use of candles.

•Fort Wayne Police Department reported that, between January and September of this year, the crime rate in the city's Northwest quadrant was 4.6 percent under the national average. With holiday shopping approaching, we are urged to lock packages in our trunks. Vandalism is up, as are armed robberies and the appearance of counterfeit money.

Northwest Division Deputy Police Chief Marty Bender commented that the Fort Wayne Police Department is down about 30 officers and that it takes about one year after graduation to have a new officer street ready, which may lead to cutbacks of service in the future.

•Russ Jehl commented on the budget and investing city money.

•County Councilman Darren Vogt, R-3rd, commented both on raises and cutting the fat from the county budget.

•Dan Avery, executive director of Northeast Indiana Regional Coordinating Council (NIRCC), commented on the many street projects needing to be developed, and it's difficult to imagine where all that money will be coming from.

Little time was left for discussion of the State Boulevard widening project. It was agreed the present bridge is far below standards and needs to be replaced, and there exists a wide gap between what the city foresees and want the neighbor want.

The raising of the bridge, further home buyouts and the street widening will disturb the historical nature of the neighborhood and still needs to be reconciled. In a perfect world, we should be able to have both interests sit down, have their thoughts heard and, with the help of a skilled facilitator, come to an agreeable compromise.

November is our last meeting of the year, and we will hold elections for secretary and co-chair, plus learn what the people want to learn more about next year and who they would like to speak to us.

It's been another great year with a few bumps, but we've learned a lot and remain ready and willing to continue to do even more next year. Hope to see you tomorrow night.

This column is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinion of The News-Sentinel.