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Dozens oppose affordable housing complex

Brightpoint wants to turn the former Frances Slocum School at 2529 Curdes Avenue into affordable housing for people who meet some restrictions.

Posted: Jun. 11, 2018 9:51 PM
Updated: Jun. 11, 2018 10:54 PM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - A former school could soon have new life as an apartment building.

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Brightpoint wants to turn the former Frances Slocum School at 2529 Curdes Avenue into affordable housing for people who meet some restrictions.

The building, most recently used by Parkview, was zoned to be apartments back in the 1980s.

Monday, more than 50 people showed up to a public hearing not happy about the proposed project.

The former Frances Slocum School has sat empty here for several years.

"I really came here and I'm like 'God, I'm so against this. But at the same time, I do know there are people who do need help," said Cindy Owens, who lives in the Frances Slocum neighborhood.

"To me neighbor stands for helping others. I can't stress this enough, What they are trying to do is help people that are in need," said Ben Shoch, who lives in the Frances Slocum neighborhood.

Schoch was just one of three people who spoke in favor of the Slocum Point project Monday.

"I would actually qualify under. I've heard a lot of comments saying that's going to bring a lot of bad people. I'm already living among you and I would qualify for this program," he said.

The affordable housing complex being built by Brightpoint, a non profit offering assistance to families in the Summit City, wants to turn the former Francis Slocum school into 43 one and two bedroom apartments.

That includes building a second building on the property.

"We didn't expect this situation. For the most part we are trying to educate on what we are trying to be dong," said Steve Hoffman, CEO at Brightpoint.

Some are worried the people who rent the apartments could bring down their neighborhood.

"It often times depends on the management, they are in for awhile then they start going down, down down and the neighborhood goes down," said Margarete Dietrich, neighbor.

"We have been broken into in our car during daylight. We've also had people walk in our church and take things," Owens said.

Hoffman said they don't have anything to worry about because they are already taking steps to make sure they have good tenants.

The project received $650,000 from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority back in February.

"Which kind of verified we found the right location we were trying to find," said Hoffman.

The plan commission will vote on project during its meeting, Monday, June 18.

If it is approved, construction will start in April 2019 and last a year.

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