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Tell-Tale Signs

August 1, 2017
Our “Second Chance” Garage Sale is this Saturday, August 5.
The Association places ads in both Fort Wayne newspapers. We place signs around the edge of the neighborhood to help visitors find our sales.
But each time we have a sale, signs are stolen. They cost $15-$20 each.
Some are hijacked for other garage sales. And some of those are trashed by other associations that “police” sale signs. Board members recently came home to a stash of stolen signs placed at our front doors. We get emails complaining about “your people are placing signs on our street – we threw them away”. Most simply vanish without a trace – 5 new signs this June alone.
**** Please don’t place signs in other associations.
**** We’ll place signs at the edge of the Association so you don’t have to.
**** Please don’t dispose our signs. That’s as bad as stealing them. We will collect them at the end of sale day.
**** “Sign Amnesty”: If you find an Association sign that has been stolen (not private signs), you can return it to 4125 Indiana Avenue and put it on the porch. We’ll be glad to have them back in proper use!
Steve McCord, Board President

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Association Centennial Picnic on July 22, 3PM to 7PM

July 18, 2017

Come join us as we celebrate our neighborhood’s centennial with good friends and neighbors!

The event will be kicked off with LIVE MUSIC performed by Swimming[into]View from 3-4 followed by Daniel Tucker and the Devil’s Herd from 4-7. There will be a bounce house and games for the kids including chalk, bubbles, water balloons, squirt guns, corn hole and more!


The picnic will be catered by Shigs N Pit BBQ. We will provide other snacks, water, and soda, but please feel free to bring a dish to share with neighbors and BYOB (responsibly). We hope you can join us in celebrating the 100th birthday of our great neighborhood! If you have any questions or would like to volunteer, please contact Nadine Rager or Scott Marker.  E-mail with questions!

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Dodging the Raindrops

July 8, 2017

The last Flamingo Friday on July 7 dodged the raindrops and went ahead as planned. Did you have a good time?07.07.17 Flamingo Friday at 4710 Indiana.jpg

But next week’s Flamingo Friday will surely be wet, even if it doesn’t rain.  It will be held at Pocohontas Pool July 14!  Stay tuned for details!

The Summit is Seeking Use Variances for South Campus. Neighbors Invited to Attend Discussion on July 6.

July 5, 2017
Please take time to read the following press release shared with the Association:
“Public Meeting at The Summit 
Thursday, July 6 @ 6:30 pm
The Summit Event Center
The Summit has submitted a proposal for a Master Use Variance Plan for their South Campus. Residents from the surrounding neighborhoods are invited to learn about the use variances proposed for their buildings and campus. The variances would authorize, and expand in some cases, a number of uses currently underway on the South Campus. There are among the new variances cited proposals to bring a doctor’s and/or dental office to the campus, to create a Neighborhood Center and a Community Center. 
The attached document includes a number of FAQ as well as a complete list of the uses they are requesting and examples of uses that have been suggested, requested or desired in the future. The Summit has made great efforts to engage the leaders of the surrounding neighborhoods. This document provides answers to the questions and in some cases, concerns, that we all brought to the table. Please spend some time studying this before the meeting as it may help to address any questions or concerns you may have about the proposal. The meeting will be open for any other questions or concerns you may have. 
Additionally, a public hearing will be held before the Board of Zoning Appeals on Thursday, July 20 ahead of their vote on this variance request.”  — End of press release.
BZA Filing – Merged
Use Variance Proposal – FAQs – 7.3.17
What does this mean for Historic Southwood Park neighbors?

The Summit invited leaders from surrounding neighborhoods to preview the Use Variances.  Most of the Variances seem reasonable in their effort to keep The Summit an active, regulated asset to the community.  You may have other concerns, we did not imagine, so I would invite you to review the attached Use Variance Proposal written by The Summit and the BZA filing.  Share any concerns you may have at the public meeting this Thursday, July 6 at 6:30.  You can also share any concerns with me at the following email address:

An issue of concern for Historic Southwood Park is the fate of Hausser Hall.  The building has been empty since Taylor University Fort Wayne closed. It has attracted some unwanted activity, but vandalism and trespassing has decreased since the windows were boarded and security patrols were added by The Summit.

The Summit’s new master plan would demolish Hausser Hall and replace it with a building “largely on the same footprint” a few years in the future, if needed.  But repurposing parts of Hausser Hall as a campus maintenance facility may be better for the neighborhood and for The Summit.
Here are a few reasons why reuse of Hausser Hall would be good for The Summit:
  • IMMEDIATE NEED FOR SPACE: The Summit needs to build a maintenance facility.  There is a real need for space to store supplies, tools, and items like snowplows.  Current plans call for a 7,500 sf building to be constructed.  If the main floor of Hausser Hall was adapted for use as storage and maintenance, it could be as much as 10,000 sf.  That’s extra space that could be used by tenants at The Summit.
  • NOT MAKING MAINTENANCE AND STORAGE A “FIRST IMPRESSION”: Adapting Hausser Hall for maintenance and storage use places those jobs at the “back of campus” where they are seen less, but still readily accessible to The Summit campus.  Why place these uses closer to the campus’s front door?
  • LANDSCAPE SCREENING:  If Hausser Hall is replaced, a new building would likely need expensive landscape berms and/or walls.  These items use valuable real estate and resources to create.
  • ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP:  Hausser Hall is built with expensive quality materials like granite and Indiana limestone.  Reusing the building will keep hundreds of tons of material from being hauled to the landfill.
  • HISTORIC PRESERVATION:  Hausser Hall was designed by Alvin M. Strauss and Associates.  A.M. Strauss was arguably Fort Wayne’s greatest 20th Century architect. He designed the Lincoln Tower, Memorial Coliseum, the Embassy Theatre, and the redesign of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, among other designs. Appreciation for Mid Century designs is beginning to grow.  Hausser Hall is on ARCH’s local Most Endangered List for historic buildings.  When the building passes 50 years old and can be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, a commercial reuse of the building will be eligible for a 20% federal tax credit.  Choosing demolition means choosing to throw away this credit that could be syndicated to investors or The Summit’s parent company.

The Summit and surrounding neighborhoods want to work together for our mutual benefit.  Here are some ways reuse of Hausser Hall would be good for Historic Southwood Park neighbors:

  • FIGHTING VANDALISM AND TRESPASSING:  The quickest way to fight vandalism and trespassing is to bring activity back to southeast corner of campus by reusing Hausser Hall for maintenance and storage.  Regular business traffic will keep trouble away.  An empty lot would not deter crime, as it is out of sight of campus offices.
  • PROPERTY LINE CROWDING: Hausser Hall is not close to the property line.  There is a comfortable amount of space between it and neighbor’s homes.  A potential new building in the future might need to be closer.
  • NOISE POLLUTION:  Large air handling and air conditioning equipment for a newer building would likely face away from the middle campus and toward neighbors’ homes.  The amount of noise generated by these units prevents sleeping with windows open, or enjoyment of backyards.  Hausser Hall might be able to have suite-by-suite units installed on the roof, mitigating potential noise.
  • LIGHT POLLUTION:  Neighbors were accustomed to the amount of light coming from Hausser Hall when it was in use.  A newer building in the future is likely to have more windows, doors and security lighting at night.

In short, making Hausser Hall an active part of the Summit’s building inventory is a good thing.

Please share your thoughts.   I invite you to review the attached Use Variance Proposal written by The Summit and share any concerns you may have at the public meeting this Thursday, July 6 at 6:30.  Here are links to the documents: Use Variance Proposal – FAQs – 7.3.17,  BZA Filing – Merged

You can also share any concerns with me at the following email address:

Steve McCord,  President, Historic Southwood Park Board of Directors



Association Board Supports City Council Increasing Local Income Tax to Rebuild Sidewalks, Maintain Alleys, and Develop Riverfront

June 22, 2017

The Historic Southwood Park Board of Directors supports a 0.15% increase in the Local Income Tax rate to support rebuilding sidewalks, alleyways, and the riverfront.  In neighborhood surveys, sidewalk repair is a foremost concern. On-street parking and the poor condition of alleys are other items of deep interest.  Southwood Park neighbors identify our proximity to downtown as an asset.  The rate increase addresses these points, so we encourage City Council to adopt the rate increase.

Why is this important?  Well-maintained sidewalks and alleys improve property values.  With constitutional property tax caps and a tight municipal budget, the Association Board of Directors feels this dedicated rate increase is the best way to ensure future City investments in neighborhoods.

At our May Association meeting, we discussed the tax proposal by members of City Council.  We voted that we would support the increase in the Local Income Tax as long as council set aside at least 30% of the money for neighborhood infrastructure.  At Wednesday’s Southwest Neighborhoods-Summit Alliance meeting, Councilman Dr. John Crawford outlined his plan to introduce a concurrent ordinance that will direct 1/3 of the tax increase to neighborhood infrastructure.  This meets our Board’s goal and is expected to raise $40 million dollars over the next decade for sidewalks and alleys.

Several Southwood Park neighbors who have asked to participate in the City’s 50/50 sidewalk cost sharing have been deferred until future years.  Demand far outstrips money in the City’s budget.  And the City has never really had a budget for alley replacement.  Many alleys are a century old and in poor condition.  If a block of homeowners does manage to pass a successful petition for repairs, the City only contributes 25%, if it is available at all, leaving bills of thousands of dollars.  If the ordinances pass, Councilman Crawford expects the City to pay for future sidewalk and alley work in full.

Historic Southwood Park is only a short bike ride from downtown.  We benefit from a rising demand for housing near downtown, and portions of the rate increase will be spent on Phases II and III of Riverfront redevelopment.

The plan for earmarking 1/3 for sidewalks and alleys, and 2/3 for riverfront is a good path forward.  A typical taxpayer can expect to pay $5.77 per month.  The Local Income Tax does not affect those on limited incomes, as Social Security is tax exempt.  If approved, the tax rate of 1.5% will still be below the state average of 1.59%. And money from the rate increase will NOT be spent on a downtown arena.

It is never easy to propose raising tax rates.  The elected proponents of this plan deserve credit for taking on a tough subject.

City Council will conduct hearings on the subject at 5PM on June 27 and July 11 at Citizens Square.  You can read some more on the subject from the perspective of Greater Fort Wayne, Inc. at

Steve McCord

President, Historic Southwood Park Board of Directors

Garage Sales Set for June 10 and August 5

June 9, 2017

The most-asked question every year is: “when are the Garage Sales?”

Southwood Park will have two again this year on June 10 and August 5.

garage sale sign

The Association will place ads in Fort Wayne Newspapers and post signs around the neighborhood.  You should post balloons or a sign in front of your house on those Saturdays to let buyers know you are participating.

Oakdale is having a Home Tour the same day, June 10, so we will hope for big crowds.

It’s a great way to make space in the garage or basement, earn a little pocket cash, and get out and meet your neighbors!  Or it could be the chance to snap up some great bargains.  In any case, it’s fun.  Good luck!


Dirt Day 2017

May 3, 2017

Every year since 1978, the Association has purchased quality soil for residents to use in their gardens, flower pots, and yards.  This is our 40th year helping Southwood Park gardeners!  On May 13th, we are having 12 cubic yards of quality tri-mix soil from Felger’s Peat Moss delivered.  All you have to do is take your wheelbarrow to the sites and get what you need!

But it has been very rainy this spring!  To avoid the Dirt Day from becoming “Mud Day”, we are pushing it one week later.  This event is typically held the first Saturday of May, but it will be the Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend this year.  If there is another weather-related delay, we will announce plans here and on Facebook.

Two locations are new this year. We are picking some of the wider street areas.  By popular demand, we will have a site in Section B this year! There will be three dirt pickup sites:

  • Indiana Avenue at Maxine Drive
  • South Wayne Avenue at Maple Grove Avenue
  • Westover Road at Crestwood Drive

Dirt is for Historic Southwood Park homes only!  No dumping.  Please take only what you need, and be considerate of other neighbors.