JG Superior Street Row Opinion Letter

A friend of mine recently submitted a letter to the editors of the Journal Gazette.  They published his letter in it’s entirety on their website, but left two paragraphs out in the print edition.  He has graciously allowed this blog to reprint his letter with the two excised paragraphs included.  

From J. W. Rinehart:

I read with some trepidation the plans of the City of Fort Wayne; Hartland Development; and Morrison, Kattman Menze Incorporated to build retail, office, and apartment space along Superior Street east of Clinton. While I am all for downtown development/redevelopment I am concerned about this area being approved for housing.

I frequently attend events now staged on the festival plaza at Headwaters Park. Many events last for three or more days and feature live music. Several of these events have music during the day and evening. As I understand it Headwaters Park was developed to better utilize flood plain and provide a central city location for the many festivals and events that make this a diverse and quality community to live in.

I have seen areas developed in the past near airports or other “noisy” environments that eventually were the cause of the “noise” being reduced or eliminated even though the “noise” existed prior to the development. Every festival, concert, event, or party planner should express their concern with this proposed development of housing located so close to the Headwaters Park festival plaza.

The Three Rivers Festival for instance lasts over a week and has live concerts, a carnival, and Food Alley (located between the festival plaza and the proposed development). It is open from around noon to 11:00pm and I am sure no one living in an apartment a few hundred yards away would mind the traffic, noise, or lack of parking. After all for $1300.00+ a month rent would you? Also for security this festival uses portable light towers all night to light these areas.

Other festivals I attend include Germanfest, Greekfest, Barbeque Ribfest, Countryfest, and Hispanic/Latino festival events. All of which create their own traffic and “noise” issues. I believe that Headwaters Park festival plaza is booked for more than 95% of weekends from June through mid-October and operates an outdoor ice rink in the winter.

Maybe a better place for development would be on Superior Street between Harrison and Calhoun. This area is currently occupied by a manufacturing facility. With incentives and the availability of many vacant industrial buildings, in industrial areas, this company might be better served somewhere other than downtown. This kind of move would enable a prime area of downtown to be redeveloped.

Perhaps the city council would agree to an addition to the deed or permission to develop that no “noise” complaints could ever be filed against Headwaters Park for being what it was intended – a festival center for the entire region not a housing development.

– W J Rhinehart

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  1. I disagree with Rhinehart’s point of view and the fears expressed in the letter, and I have expressed my counterpoint via a letter to the editor of the Journal Gazette, which was published in Sunday’s (January 4, 2009) paper.

    • Thank you Mike! I just added a post with your letter in it as well – to present your side. All I’ll say right now is that I absolutely fell in love with the concept and concept drawings and floor plans that I’ve seen concerning this project. I think it’s absolutely wonderful and exactly what Fort Wayne needs more of. I only question it’s location – and not so much because I perceive it as a threat to Headwaters Park, but more because I can’t imagine too many people wanting to live in that environment 365, 24/7. That said, you are the developer and I know you’re not going to put a lot of work into the project if you don’t think it’s going to be successful!

      Whichever direction this goes, you definitely deserve a pat on the back for your forward thinking.


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