LOGANSPORT — City planning department to work on neighborhood plan for area between Clifton and Michigan avenues
In the mostly owner-occupied houses just north of Logansport Community Hospital, people are satisfied with many of the neighborhood’s characteristics. Logansport city planners want to make sure that stays the case — but residents’ satisfaction and pride in their neighborhood has already impressed a senior housing developer.
Arin Shaver, city-county planning director, said the city is working on a neighborhood plan for the area north from Ottawa to Jackson streets between Michigan and Clifton avenues. It’s the first neighborhood in Logansport to be the focus of neighborhood planning, according to Shaver.
“It’s not going to be a redevelopment plan,” she said. “It’ll probably turn out to be just a neighborhood plan” that arranges for infrastructure improvements, like sidewalk and curb cut maintenance, to maintain the existing nature of the area.
“I think basically we’re sticking with the same ideas that everybody has in that neighborhood,” she said.
Shaver invited the area’s residents to a neighborhood redevelopment plan meeting last Thursday to ask them what was good about the neighborhood and what needed to be improved.
Only two residents showed up. The two women were neighbors that lived on the south end of the area, near the hospital.
Shaver isn’t sure why more people didn’t attend.
“I still think we got a lot accomplished,” she said. “The two that came were very vocal, and sometimes you have multiple people at meetings, but they’re not very vocal.”
Linda Gordon, 60, said she had no problem stating her frank opinion of living in the area between Michigan and Clifton. It was a positive one.
“Everyone gives a heads up to the other neighbors and everyone keeps an eye out,” she said. “It’s like a small community in a block. Everyone kind of knows everyone, you may not be the best of friends but you always smile and greet one another.”
What it needs is the same as what any area has to have, Gordon said.
“It just needs everyone to maintain their homes and take pride in their properties and in themselves,” Gordon said. “I think that’s what every community needs.”
The two residents met with Shaver, Jim Schrader, vice president of operations at Logansport Community Hospital, and James Wilson, president of Crestline Communities, an organization looking to develop the old McKinley school into senior housing.
Wilson came to gauge the kind of neighborhood Crestline Communities was considering investing in, he said. The neighbors in attendance said residents generally maintained their properties and few houses were vacant or for sale, qualities Wilson said were favorable in his eyes.
When he and Shaver first brought up the idea of adding more rental housing to the area, the two residents were against it because of the higher occupancy turnover in renter-occupied residences.
However, when Wilson asked about senior housing specifically, the residents said they would welcome that type of rental housing.
Crestline is still in the early stages of developing senior housing in Logansport. The company had planned earlier to convert both the McKinley building and Logansport’s old Jefferson school building into senior housing, but hit a roadblock earlier this year, when the developer’s application for more than $9 million in tax credits was denied by Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority officials in what some called the most competitive year for these tax credits.
Crestline had proposed building 70 units at the two sites. It had purchase agreements in place with Logansport Community School Corporation for the Jefferson site, 401 Tanguy St., and with Logansport Memorial Hospital Foundation for the McKinley site, 1501 Meadlawn Ave. But both of those deals were contingent on the company receiving these tax credits.
Now, Crestline is looking at converting just the McKinley building into fewer than 40 senior housing units, Wilson said. Crestline will reapply for the tax credits this November. Wilson said the project won’t go on without those tax credits.
But if the credits do come through, Wilson anticipates Crestline will go ahead at the McKinley site.
“Although we’re still in the evaluation stage, I’m very excited about this project and I think it’ll go forward,” he said.
“The fact of this being a historic building in need of renovation is appealing to us,” said Wilson. Its location near the hospital is a plus, too. Seniors in rental housing would at least feel comfort knowing that the hospital is close by, he said, even if they wouldn’t necessarily walk to it.
“We view the hospital as a stabilizing influence,” Wilson added. “It’s a huge investment in the area and it’s not going anywhere.”
Shaver said the planning department would draw up a neighborhood plan based on the residents’ comments and present it to the area’s citizens in another meeting before officially adopting it. It could be two months before that next meeting is held, but Shaver hopes more people come than attended Thursday’s meeting.
Gordon, who has lived in the neighborhood since 1978, said people needed to understand that what they thought about their neighborhood mattered.
“Community interest is way down,” she said. “I think a lot of people believe they have no say-so, that any input they have is not to be counted. And that’s not true.”
• Sarah Einselen is a staff reporter for the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5151 or firstname.lastname@example.org.