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.
Last month, the Northwest Area Partnership meeting was brought to order, followed by neighborhood introductions and then the Treasurer's report was accepted as read.
Kira Blackator of the Allen County Solid Waste Management District reported the growing success rate of recycling but cautioned against discarding yard waste and paint cans with paint still inside. With so many people recycling, fees for dumping in landfills decreases while recyclables earn cash.
John Peirce, Fort Wayne Community Schools board member, presented a more affordable plan for much needed school improvements than the proposal several years ago. FWCS has over 30,000 students speaking 80 different languages to educate, and this plan represents more needs than wants.
Basically, these schools were built quickly to accommodate the huge numbers of baby boomers entering school during the '50s, '60s and '70s. In most cases, they were not built too well with shortcuts like “curtain walls” that had R factors of R3, resulting in much heating loss and high costs. FWCS has tried to reduce their expenses by closing several schools, outsourcing custodial services and reducing other costs as well.
This first phase is estimated to cost $119 million, and that referendum passed in the primaries, with two more phases to follow, improving our schools for today's and future students.
We also heard reports from the following:
•Mary Huth, neighborhood liaison, reminded us of the Great American Cleanup and the Mother's Day Plant Sale at McMillen Park, both May events.
•Neighborhood Code's grass program is underway with the hiring of additional help and computers to facilitate the sighting-reporting process.
•Fort Wayne Fire Department Capt. Mike Jacoby reported their department is settled in on the ninth floor of the Rousseau Building, and he passed out free 9-volt batteries for smoke alarms.
•Deputy Police Chief Marty Bender praised Capt. P.J. Smith's work in the arrest for the Walgreen's robbery. Bender also said 30-40 cars had their windows shot out recently, and he warned do not leave valuables (including garage openers) in cars.
•3rd District Republican City Councilman Tom Didier commented on the need for and costs of removal of dead ash trees and also about election redistricting that is done every 10 years.
•2nd District Republican City Councilman Russ Jehl cautioned on the spending of the $8.5 million returned to the city from a state error and suggested CEDIT dollars be spent on street repairs.
•County Commissioner Nelson Peters, R-1st District, spoke about the county budget and the anticipated improvement to the 911 system by the end of this year that will cost between $15 million and $20 million.
•Indiana House Rep. Win Moses, D-81st District, reported the legislature's accomplishments as elimination of the corporate and inheritance tax; full-day kindergarten; statewide smoking ban; and making the ingredients of substances like K2 and Spice illegal, thereby allowing for arrest of the sellers regardless of how often they change the formula.
Our guest speakers for our May meeting on Thursday will be Christopher Bradley of the Department of Sociology at IPFW, and Greenway Manager Dawn Ritchie, who will update us on the latest parks and trails information and future plans. Hope to see you there.