Utter disrespect for southeast Fort Wayne

| April 4, 2017

The McMillen Foundation defends their decision to demolish the Bowser Pump buildings by stating that they looked for developers over the past 10 years and that the buildings were not worth saving. The buildings would be rated outstanding, according to Indiana Landmarks standards.

There was never any real attempt to find a developer. The efforts were half hearted with unreasonable timelines such as a 10 day turn around when requesting proposals. They are using PUBLIC DOLLARS to take down PRIVATE PROPERTY and reaping monetary benefits for all that is salvaged in the demo process.

The McMillen Foundation and City of Fort Wayne had their own agenda years ago and there was no real consideration for the community that resides in that area.  They met with two or three African Americans in private and decided that they represented the entire Southeast (African American) Community when they decided to demo. The same has not been done when it comes to the decision to use public dollars in other areas of Fort Wayne such as The Landing, GE, Randal Loft, Superior Loft and others. The City of Fort Wayne has had multiple public announcements and public meetings.

The mayor wants to remove any barriers in the Southeast area of Fort Wayne by use of demolition so that the Tax Credits, CDBG and other funds awarded because of and for Southeast can be used for projects in other areas of Fort Wayne.

Why is it that the McMillens and the City of Fort Wayne feel that they know what’s best for the citizens in Southeast Fort Wayne? Another vacant lot (REALLY) take a look around Southeast Fort Wayne I would say we have enough.  The McMillen’s offered to give the Bowser Pump property to the City of Fort Wayne years ago.

The McMillens and the City of Fort Wayne had been totally unreasonable and down right nasty the entire time the Concerned Citizens of Southeast Fort  Wayne reached out to them in an effort to save the buildings from demolition. We met all of their demands with Indiana Land Marks being willing to take ownership of the property and bring developers in to look at the property.  There was never any real consideration given to us. They have consistently used each other as a shield making it impossible to have a productive conversation.

There has been little to no economic growth for African Americans as a whole in Fort Wayne since Tom Henry has been the mayor.  We pay taxes and spend money in this community and we should have a voice to decide what happens in our community. The decisions and actions taken by the City of Fort Wayne and the McMillen Foundation were purely a disgrace to the Southeast Fort Wayne community. This bully action is evidence that we are not respected as a community and do not have a voice. It also shows that we have no value when it comes to the future and direction of our Southeast Fort Wayne community.

—Dorothea Bragg

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Category: Government, Letters, Opinion

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Frost Illustrated is Fort Wayne's oldest weekly newspaper. Your Independent Voice in the Community, featuring news & views of African Americans since 1968.

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