FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Dozens of residents gathered on the lawn of the Allen County Courthouse on Monday to protest the city’s plans to annex some 23 square miles northward into the county.
The protest fell just before city officials hosted the first of several open house-style meetings at Citizens Square to field questions about the annexation.The group of demonstrators stopped traffic as they marched over to citizens square.
The proposal has struck a nerve with people who live in the proposed annexation area and even some who don’t. Protesters want the City of Fort Wayne to reconsider the plans to annex.
Last month, the city announced plans to move the city’s boundaries north with an annexation that would add 22,000 residents to the city. The new limits would be Gump and Hursh roads to the north, Schwartz Road to the east and Dunton Road to the west.
“I don’t feel that the city has anything to offer me,”said Michael Rick, who lives in the proposed annexation area. “There’s a whole lot of negatives involved here. We have burning, we have hunting that takes place on the property. All these things with city restrictions are a problem.”
The plan was pitched as that area developed and the number of residents continued to grow. Rick said he believes the plan would help the city, but doesn’t consider how it might impact everyone else.
“There’s no such thing as everyone’s happy,” said Rick. “But I’m hoping they’ll at least be hon est and give us some direct answers. But I don’t know that they’ve really concerned themselves with the negative impact for the rural areas.”
But while the annexation would create more tax income for the city, impacted residents have raised concerns over the hit that Northwest Allen County Schools (possibly $2.5 million) and county government (an estimated $5.4 million a year) would take. There’s also concern that fire and emergency personnel would lose jobs.
“They’ve got to start looking at the fairness,” said Darryl Dickes, who was apart of the protest. “State laws need changed so a city like this can’t just come in and take, and pick and grab. You’ve got the fire department, you’ve got the county, you’ve got the school systems that are being affected by this.”
But as residents sound off, the city is moving forward. The annexation is expected to be considered by City Council next month before a public hearing in July and a possible vote in August.
“Annexations are never easy,” said John Perlich, Spokesman for the City of Fort Wayne. “We realize there are some concerns and different things people want to see moving forward. We’re committed to having open communication and providing information to the public.”
Additional open house-style meetings to discuss the annexation will be held:
- Tuesday, Apr. 19 from 7-9 a.m. at Life Bridge Church, 12719 Corbin Rd.
- Tuesday, Apr. 19 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Life Bridge Church, 12719 Corbin Rd.
- Wednesday, Apr. 27 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Mirro Center, 10622 Parkview Plaza Dr.
- Thursday, Apr. 28 from 7-9 a.m. at the Mirro Center, 10622 Parkview Plaza Dr.
- Thursday, Apr. 28 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Mirro Center, 10622 Parkview Plaza Dr.