FORT WAYNE – Those who love 46807 are bubbling over with ideas for improving that area south of Fort Wayne's downtown.
Install locally sourced public sculptures and bike racks? Yes, please. Create a system for sharing snow blowers and chain saws? Sure. Celebrate homeowners who fix up their homes and yards? Let's.
About a dozen of the region's supporters met Saturday morning at South Side High School to pool ideas for physical, economic, social and civic projects that included those listed above.
Their challenge is to break those big ideas into doable steps and find people with the time and energy to follow through.
About $1,800 in grants is available to help make the best ideas a reality.
The 46807 Initiative Steering Committee was formed in 2010 to strengthen the neighborhood, dubbed "the 07." Anyone who lives, works or worships in the ZIP code is invited to participate in the organization.
The area includes Foster Park, St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Unitarian Universalist Church, Congregation Achduth Vesholom, First Missionary Church and other organizations.
Pathfinder Services staff facilitated Saturday's gathering. The nonprofit human and community development organization acquires, rehabs and resells homes in the area.
Among the other ideas suggested were creating an annual, signature event for the 46807; starting a Calhoun Street Association; recruiting new artists to participate in a gallery show; and taking ownership of street trash cleanup.
Participants, who were mostly in their 50s and 60s, typically showed enthusiasm for multiple projects.
"I'd better write down what I'm volunteering for," Caryl Collentine said as she agreed to take on a third or fourth task.
Dan Swartz, founder and curator of the Wunderkammer Co., an art gallery in the former Casa d'Angelo building on Fairfield Avenue, was in the midst of the discussions.
One of the ideas involved an art show for fledgling artists late next year at his gallery. Each recruited participant would be given a budget of $200 – $100 from a sponsor and $100 from a grant – for materials to create the works.
Money raised from any sales would be split evenly between the artist, the gallery and a fund to continue the program the following year for three more people who've never had an showing and might not realize their abilities.
"I think the weirder the art, the better," Swartz said. "Because they're a newbie artist, they don't know the rules."
True, someone recruited to participate might get intimidated and copy established artists' styles, he said.
"But someone might say, 'I don't know what the hell I'm doing' and just throw some boxes on the ground."
ZIP code 46807
A committee for those living in the 46807 ZIP code is asking for ideas that will benefit the community. Here's a look at 46807.
|46807||Fort Wayne||Allen County|
|Own home (%)||68||64.6||70.6|
|Median household income|
|Source: U.S. Census Bureau|