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Planners hear criticism of two projects

A pair of projects before the Fort Wayne Plan Commission had their critics on Monday.

Long Term Care Investments III wants to invest $14 million to create a 54,000-square-foot skilled-nursing facility on the southwest side where resident opposition helped halt a medical park.

Long Term Care at Ridgewood is expected to create up 95 jobs full- and part-time jobs, paying a median salary of $40,000 to $45,000 a year. The complex will have 84 residents. Construction would begin this summer.

Keller Development, meanwhile, is planning a $3 million, 30-unit duplex community at South Hanna Street near Tillman Road. And although the project is not income-based, Cindy Shank and her neighbors feel the rental property, dubbed Kayla Court, will create instability for existing homeowners.

The projects were discussed during a public hearing.

Shank said Keller would never try to grow a rental community near one of southwest Fort Wayne’s premier neighborhoods.

“(Keller) knows he wouldn’t get it through,” said Shank, who has lived in the South Hanna neighborhood for more than 30 years and was among about 40 in attendance.

“We stayed on the south side when others left, and this is the thanks we get.”

Dawn Gallaway, business development manager, said rents will be based on what the “market will allow,” in this case $699 a month for units with two-bedrooms, most appliances and one-car garages. The duplexes will span up to 1,000 square feet. Construction also could begin this summer.

Shank’s neighbor, Charlene Hall, also opposed the development. Hall said they live in one of the nice neighborhoods on the southeast side and that a rental community would attract transient residents.

“The only reason they can get away with this is because of all the crime that exists on this side of town,” Shank said after speaking at the hearing. She said the area needs permanent housing to create a feeling of community ownership.

Long Term Care at Ridgewood is at least the third attempt to develop 5 1/2 acres on the east side of Rosewood Drive and on the north side of Aboite Center Road. The first two attempts involved the proposed Ridgewood Medical Park, which was to accommodate medical specialty services, such as cancer treatment, laboratories and pain management.

Neighbor opposition and funding woes doomed the project originally started by T.J.H. Properties in 2007. Fort Wayne attorney Thomas Gallmeyer spoke for residents in the neighborhoods near the latest proposal who can now give it their blessing. For one thing, less traffic is likely at a nursing facility.

The plan commission will vote on the projects Monday.

pwyche@jg.net

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