Take a look at this new IN|fw video that focuses on the “ridiculous potential” of our part of Fort Wayne. Southwood Park has always been a home to the creative types, musicians, and artists, and we are glad to be part of a greater community that shares an appreciation for this.
There just aren’t many fallen leaves yet this fall.
We’re going to wait until there are more before we gather to give the roundabout its fall makeover. We’ll meet at the roundabout at 1PM on November 10th. Bring your gloves, rake, and a friend.
Leaf collection by the City begins in three days in Southwood Park – on Monday October 21st. But they won’t have much to pick up in our neighborhood. With this month’s warm weather, it’s going to be a strange year for leaf collection since many trees are just beginning to turn color.
Please rake your leaves to the curb. Don’t put them in the street because it will cause sewer grates to become blocked and flooded when it rains. Avoid parking on the street during collection times to avoid damage to your vehicle and to allow your street to be swept.
If you’re worried about your grass, please bag leaves in paper yard waste bags and call 311 for pickup.
Follow this link for more information: http://www.cityoffortwayne.org/publicworks/street-department/leaf-collection.html
Jonathan and Nicole Busarow’s commencement into the neighborhood was anything but ordinary. Their new home at 4005 Indiana had a recently-flipped interior, but 2 years of vacancy had done a number on the landscaping. “We moved in the day after that big storm [last July],” said Nicole. Without electricity, and with most of their windows painted shut, they took to the yard. “Since the city was picking up all the debris, we just started cutting down the jungle that was in the backyard.”
They’ve made small improvements since then, mostly focusing on the exterior of the house. Their home now boasts new gutters, a new garage door, a patio in the backyard, new flower beds, and a vegetable garden. Their front porch includes a unique focal point… a porch swing that Nicole’s father made out of recycled milk jugs. “You don’t have to stain it, and it doesn’t get splinters,” Nicole said.
Built in 1909, their home is one of the oldest on the block. “I tore some stuff out of the rafters in our basement, and a kid’s toy fell out… a GI Joe or something,” Jonathan said. “To be a part of a house that’s so old… it really lets us have a glimpse into the past.” The couple enjoys seeing old maps and aerial photographs of the city, and trying to guess where their house might have been located.
Their favorite thing about living in Southwood Park is the people. “We’re so fortunate that we have great neighbors here,” said Jonathan. “It seems like there is always something going on, and it’s very family-friendly here.”
As for their house, they have an appreciation for an older home’s character (which, as Jonathan joked, is just a code word for “costs a lot of money to fix things”). They told me that living in a small house may not be what most people consider ideal, but it’s just perfect for them. “People say, ‘Oh, you’re starting a family. Are you looking for a bigger house?’” Nicole laughed and rolled her eyes, “It seems like enough for us.” The couple plans to be here for quite a few years.
Sandy Johnson moved out of Southwood Park… but couldn’t stay away long. “When we started looking for another house, we looked all over Fort Wayne, but I kept coming back here,” she said.
She originally ended up in the neighborhood because it was affordable and a great value. That’s exactly what brought Sandy back a second time, to her current house at 4602 South Wayne. “In my price range, this was the very best house I could get,” she said. “And I looked at a lot of houses.”
Sandy has now lived there for just over 2 years, and despite the house being move-in ready when she bought it, she has made a few changes here and there to make it her own. In the front yard, she cut down a tree which blocked the house, and added a lovely window box. “I’ve always wanted one,” she smiled.
The one unique thing about her home is the extra-large master bedroom. “The whole back section [of the house] was added on,” Sandy said, “so my master bedroom is the size of two bedrooms.” The massive bedroom boasts a sitting area, walk-in closet, and an en suite bathroom. “The one thing this house doesn’t have is a fireplace,” she said. “I miss that.” But she hopes, down the line, she might be able to have one built.
Sandy enjoys Southwood Park’s proximity to Foster Park and downtown. “I work downtown, and I ride my bike down there sometimes for dinner,” she said. But her favorite thing about the neighborhood is the people. “I like that people are out walking and are very friendly,” she said. “I haven’t met anyone I don’t like.”
- Kelly Benton
Fort Wayne Police Chief Rusty York said tonight that “neighborhoods where people care are the safest”. If that is true, then Southwood Park is very safe. More than 200 residents turned out in force to a Crime Prevention Discussion held at Bishop Luers High School.
We asked for a show of hands to see where people in attendance lived. About three quarters of the crowd came from Southwood Park. Other contingents came from Oakdale, Harrison Hill, and Fairmont; in short, a wide variety of neighborhoods were represented.
Here are some facts presented by Deputy Chief Steve Haffner:
- In the entire Southwest Quadrant of FWPD, there are 63,000 residents spread over 35 square miles. In the target areas near Southwood Park and Fairmont, there are 2600 residents. To cover this area, there are typically 9 FWPD officers, 3 sergeants, and a captain on duty per shift. The neighborhood response team has been stationed in our area lately.
- In August, property crimes were exclusively targeted on detached garages – lawn equipment, tools, and bikes. In September, property crimes moved to houses.
- Since September 1st in Southwood Park, there have been 19 calls regarding burglaries or attempted burglaries. 3 suffered losses. 2 were from garages. 10 homes have had screens cut to try to gain access through windows. 2 calls ended up being realtors and contractors changing locks.
- Since September 1st in Harrison Hill, there have been 12 calls regarding burglaries. Most were this past weekend of the 28th. There were 4 losses. 7 cut screens and 1 window broken.
- Since September 1st in Fairmont, there have been 6 calls. There were 3 with losses.
FWPD is concerned by recent posts of persons “patrolling” the neighborhood while armed. FWPD has officers in plain clothes on duty. We don’t want Southwood Park, Fort Wayne, or Indiana to be the next site of a Trayvon Martin incident.
Detective Casey Furge shared that the crime lab is busy getting prints from more than one crime scene.
When is this occurring? 11PM to 5AM is prime time. Saturday and Thursday have been the most common nights.
Who is doing it? There have been several different descriptions, but all have been wearing hoodies. We don’t know if it is an individual or a group. There are several persons of interest, but no suspects.
What should all of us be doing to prevent more crimes?
- Call FWPD about anything suspicious! If you know it’s just not right, call. Calling 911 is never a fault, but you should ideally have the non-emergency number, 427-1222, as well.
- Be a good witness! Notice things like direction of travel (north, east, etc.) and know your street names and hundred-blocks. Notice the vehicle type, color and license.
- Get to know your neighbors! Not just next door, but two doors down, behind you, and down the street. Good communication is a key! Block phone trees are good.
- Phone burned out street and alley lights to 311. Each pole has a unique number.
- Keep lights on! Front porch, back porch, some key lights indoors. Keeping a TV or radio on can help deter crime.
- Motion detector lights are great, and can be bought cheaply at local stores or online. Be a nosy neighbor and find out WHY those motion lights are going off. Is your neighbor working? Is it an animal?
- Keep windows and doors locked. Windows with screens only are in open invitation for trouble. Keep your storm windows down, and windows locked. Repair your broken or missing locks, or use a dowel to keep a window closed. Secure your window AC units.
- Some victimized homes have had dogs. Owners are encouraged to teach their dogs to alert them when something isn’t right. Make it a game for your dog.
- Record serial numbers to items in your home. Consider a safe deposit box or a floor safe secured to the floor for other valuables and heirlooms.
- Keep shrubs trimmed to no more than 3 feet high, and trees next to the home trimmed to refuse access to upper windows.
- Secure items like trash carts and outdoor furniture that can be used to gain access to upper windows.
- Considering an alarm system? If you have questions, call Officer Joyner at 427-1207. He can help you ask the right questions for your needs.
- Officer Michael Joyner told the crowd that an updated list of crime prevention tips is available at FWPD.org. On the left side of the page, there is a link for “crime prevention tips”. Read them!
There were more questions in the 90 minute session than can be effectively covered here, but some residents questioned the responses they have received from dispatchers. They said there seems to be a disconnect between FWPD wanting to know about anything suspicious and civilian dispatchers trying to weed out less serious calls. Chief York stated that normally “suspicious” persons are a lower priority run. However, in this area, those calls will be made a higher priority. If you have any concerns about the conduct of dispatchers, call Chief York directly at 427-1188. Leave him a voice mail if you don’t reach him.
- Emergencies: 911
- Non-emergency: 427-1222
- Deputy Chief Steve Haffner: 427-1331
- Captain Derrick Westfield: 427-1419
- Concerned Citizens Watch (for those associations or groups interested in starting a watch): 704-7344
Thank you to FWPD for coming out to talk with us. Thank you to Bishop Luers HS for providing a room, chairs, and microphone on short notice when it became apparent the meeting room at Shawnee Branch Library would be too small. Thanks to Pamela Martin-Diaz at Shawnee for making calls to secure the room this afternoon. And thanks to all of the residents who came to the event. Be sure to share what you learned with your neighbors.
To close, here are a few good notes about living in Southwood Park… Officer Joyner says that neighbors are the best defense. Unlike the new suburbs on the outskirts of Fort Wayne, places like Southwood Park make it difficult to avoid your neighbors. We have front porches, there is no driving into the garage, shutting it behind you, and retreating to the back yard enclosed by the 6 foot privacy fence.
In Southwood Park, we enjoy seeing our neighbors come and go. We’re keeping our eyes out for each other and these people are going to get caught.
— Steve McCord