FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – City Councilman Glynn Hines (D -6th District) delivered his 15th “State of the 6th District” address Saturday morning to a crowd of around a hundred city leaders and community members.
There are 44,000 people living on the southeast side of the city. It’s the most diverse area in the city, but it’s also been hit the hardest by violence, underdevelopment, and lack of resources. Hines said those are all areas he’s working on, but there has been improvement.
One area that city leaders said is lacking on the southeast side is economic development. Hines said there have been studies that show this quadrant has the second highest disposable income in the city; however, he said there aren’t any quality sit-down restaurants nearby, and the retail stores have moved leaving many vacant buildings behind.
“You want to live close to where things are happening, so as that develops in the 6th district, it’ll be a healthier environment,” Jonathan Ray, the CEO of the Fort Wayne Urban League, said.
Leaders are also working to improve affordable housing options in the area as well as resource options. There will be a new Parkview clinic opening shortly on East Paulding Road. City Council also approved $2 million to be used to create a new McMillan Community Resource Center that will open on June 7.
“We’re going to have tutoring, wi-fi access to close that digital divide because a lot of our African-American and minority students don’t have wi-fi or internet access at home, so that puts them at a disadvantage when they go to school,” Hines said.
The Southeast side also experienced more violent crimes last year than any other part of the city. However, those violent trends are decreasing. A year ago at this time, there were already eight homicides from the start of the year all of which were on the southeast side. This year there has been one homicide on the northwest side of the city. People are attributing the decrease in violence to a number of factors, including the new Gang Unit.
“They are taking people off the streets who are involved in gang activity, the other of course, mother nature,” Hines said.
Community members said the recent arrests from the Gang Unit and the new transparency in the department makes them feel safer and increases the desire to work with police to stop the crime.