Taking Back The Neighborhood: South Side Group Holds Meeting Thursday

By Laura Donaldson

July 27, 2010 Updated Jul 27, 2010 at 6:15 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – A local group is holding a meeting to help make Fort Wayne's south side grow and become safer.

Leaders say if more businesses set up shop in the south side of town more jobs will come and therefore less crime will occur.

Recently the south side of town has made headlines with several shootings. But area leaders say Thursday’s meeting will show a different side of the community.

“That perception that you have is not the right perception that it is,” Senior Pastor of Renaissance Baptist Church Michael Latham said. “Do we know we have problems? Of course we do. Do people shoot? Yes they do. But do they do it only on this side of town? No they don't. And we find that as a poor area that's when we find that more of those kinds of things will jump up at us in a community. But businesses can change that by participating and help giving back what they make from a community to kind of help make sure some of those things go away.”

Leaders say if more businesses come to the area the somewhat negative perception of the south side will be reduced.

“Business owners need to understand that the southeast is not a crime filled area, it's not a poor lower income area that won't spend money,” Hires Automotive Charles Hire said. “We all have to spend money somewhere and we're all driving miles to Jefferson Pointe, to Coventry, to Glenbrook, to Decatur, to get services.”

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry and Police Chief Rusty York will be there to answer questions.

In 2009, Mayor Tom Henry commissioned a group of South Side area business and faith community leaders to begin the process of promoting the South Side of Fort Wayne.

The meeting is Thursday July 29th at 6:00 p.m. at the Public Safety Academy of Northeast Indiana (7602 Patriot Crossing Fort Wayne, IN).

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