Activists want to save old police headquarters, city on track to demolish building

The old building is set to come down sometime this year.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Some community activists are hoping to save a building that once housed the Fort Wayne Police headquarters.

Several years ago the property owner, the McMillen Foundation, asked the city to help with bringing the building down. The city first tried finding a developer to reuse the building, but wasn’t successful with an estimated cost of more than $7 million dollars to turn it into apartments. Then the city worked with preservation groups, and ultimately decided to demolish the building at the intersection of Creighton and Bowser Avenues.

“At that point the city engaged with the community to ask if this was a good idea, and what we heard from many leaders was, back in 2012, that’s a great idea,” Community Development Deputy Director Heather Presley-Cowen said.

Now, four years after plans to demolish the building were put in place Donita Mudd is leading a group of community members hoping to stop the demolition. She said many in the neighborhood are just hearing about it for the first time this week.

“We absolutely don’t want any of those buildings demolished and we don’t feel as though we’ve been given the opportunity or the community has been given the opportunity from the city to save the buildings,” Mudd said.

Mudd would like it to be transformed into apartments.As for that multi-million dollar price tag, she wants to see the city invest in revitalizing the building and the neighborhood.

“Be as aggressive on the southeast side of Fort Wayne with those particular buildings to start out as you are with other properties downtown,” Mudd said.

At the end of the meeting plans weren’t changed and the building is still on track for demolition. However, there will be another meeting with Mudd, the city and preservation groups before anything happens to the lot.

“Certainly that list of things we can do to memorialize that building, that can grow and we can look at ways to make that site something that is respectful to what happened there,” Presley-Cowen said.

The building is set to be demolished sometime this year. Initial plans are for the lot to become a green space. The city said they will also work the adjacent YMCA in deciding future plans.

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