Activist: Southeast side doesn’t need another vacant lot

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)- A community activist is holding out hope that she can save a historic building on the southeast side of town from being demolished. The city plans tear down the old police headquarters on Creighton Avenue.

The building has been vacant for several years. The property owner, the McMillen Foundation, asked the city to help tear it down after having trouble finding a developer. The city first tried finding a developer to reuse the building but the project was too costly to take on.

“So what it’s been sitting there for 4 years,” said Donita Mudd, a community activist. “It’s almost a hundred years old. Let it sit another few years so we have time to find a developer.”

The city worked with preservation groups, and ultimately decided to demolish the building. Even though time seems to be running out Donita Mudd said she has been working with the Indiana Landmark group to find developers.

“It is a low-income, depressed area, in the southeast quadrant of the city,” said Mudd. “We’re lacking economic development. This could be our spark.”

Vincent Fomby own’s the auto repair shop right next to the building. Earlier Wednesday, barricades surrounded the building, a sign demolition could soon be underway.

“This morning when I came and opened up my shop I saw all these blocks and barricades,” said Fomby. “I asked somebody about it and they still couldn’t tell me whats going on.”

Fomby learned about the building’s fate after talking with Mudd. He, too, agrees that the building should remain.

“Just as well as you build up downtown… build up the south side,” said Fomby. “The south side is worth it.”

Mudd has spent the last year working to convince the city and the community that the century old building needs to be saved.

“This building has too much potential to just let it go,” said Mudd. “We don’t need [another vacant lot] on this side of town.

City Spokesman, John Perlich, said funding is already in place for the removal of the buildings. Perlich said once the building is torn down the land will be transferred to the Renaissance Pointe YMCA to use for recreational activities.

The barricades were removed Thursday evening after Perlich said they were “inadvertently” placed in front of the building. He said there’s no date set for demolition but it will likely happen in February.