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Development plans raise objections

Improvement projects bring questions from neighbors

A pair of developments promising to improve their respective areas prompted concerns from neighbors Monday.

Fort Wayne Plan Commission members listened as Millennia Housing of Cleveland sought a rezoning of 1.2 acres at the former Eden Green apartment complex on the city’s southeast side. The company acquired the facility last fall. Millennia is planning at least $7 million in renovations for the property that has been plagued with problems.

HH Construction, meanwhile, wants to erect a three-building, six-unit senior citizen duplex residence in northeast Fort Wayne. The company needs zoning change and a primary plan approval. If approved, the project would rise on the north side of St. Joe Center Road, near the Jonathon Oaks subdivision.

Despite promises of restoration and improvement, about 40 neighbors in the areas had their objections.

Millennia Housing specializes in turning depressed rental communities around. The192-unit Eden Green complex is located near Reed, Greene and Wallace streets and has a history of drugs and violence. Millennia plans to bolster security with better lighting and cameras. Company officials also said they will enforce a strict application process to ensure tenants – and neighbors – feel safe.

Helen Greene isn’t so sure.

The 78-year-old homeowner appreciates what Millennia is trying to do, but doubts it will change the environment.

“There are alcoholics there and other things going on,” she said. “You can take them out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of them.”

Millennia representative and architect Eric Maring said the company’s renovations will affect change. Millennia is waiting to secure tax credits for its low-income housing development.

“I have experience working with them and they care about their properties,” Maring said. “They’re in Cleveland, so they’re not some company several states away.”

As for HH Construction, the firm hopes to build the multimillion-dollar Cottages of St. Joe Center Road. Rent would be $750 for residences that would span 1,100 square feet with single car garages.

Neighbors, however, were worried about their property values, privacy and related issues. The Plan Commission will make a decision on the two projects Monday at Citizens Square.