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Design plans for North Anthony revealed

September 1st, 2016

Hoch Associates works to develop 20-minute neighborhood concept

By Whitney Wright | Fort Wayne Business Weekly 

The greater North Anthony area residents finally laid eyes on plans for their neighborhoods Aug. 19 when Hoch Associates’ design plans for North Anthony were officially revealed at an open house in St. Joe Community Church.

In the spring, North Anthony won a $15,000 award for free architectural design plans and conferences from Hoch Associates, a group of architects, engineers and interior procurers. North Anthony competed against nearby neighborhoods on Facebook by vocalizing the most neighborhood pride in March; and was announced the winner soon after.

Hoch and its Ball State University interns, seniors Michael DePrez, Georgia Pogas and Jenna Hoch, who have assisted in the research, design and presentation process, intend to transform North Anthony into a “20-minute neighborhood,” a concept first made popular by Portland, Ore. The idea is that anyone in the neighborhood should be able to have access to all that they may need outside of work within a 20-minute bike ride or walk. It not only creates less car traffic but makes the neighborhood more attractive and desirable to home buyers.

“The goal is to hand it [the designs] over to the neighborhood and give them a tool to ask people looking to invest and to ask for help,” said Dan Kennedy, director of marketing at Hoch Associates.

By providing the necessary plans and tools, Hoch and its subconsultants Wunderkammer and Big Car Collaborative hope to inspire each of Fort Wayne’s 32 nearby neighborhoods to follow suit and restore them to how neighborhood was initially designed by George Kessler in 1912.

Currently, North Anthony is trapped in the suburban sprawl a lot of Midwestern neighborhoods and towns now face – giant parking lots, generic shop buildings and fast traffic. Hoch and its interns observed the neighborhood this summer and asked neighborhood residents what they would like to see for North Anthony.

The designs presented for the greater North Anthony area focused on connecting the neighborhood to downtown, replacing some of the concrete and asphalt with greenery and parks, giving storefronts makeovers and adding more biking and walking accessibility, resulting in slower traffic.

Plans for the neighborhood are split into two main sections, each with three phases: projects by the intersection of Lake Avenue and North Anthony Boulevard and those up in the North Anthony corridor.

Hoch’s designs for phase one of North Anthony Boulevard include reconstructing some of the neighborhood shops, such as Nite Lites and Fresh Fades Barber Shop, near and in the Lake Avenue Market, and updating sidewalks and adding trees, flower planters and lighting to encourage walking. The second phase involves making over the Sunshine Laundry-Dry Cleaning and creating a small park with a pavilion big enough for a farmer’s market. Phase three includes adding family and student housing above the shops of the Lake Avenue Market and a couple other shops, as well as a neighborhood pub with a beer garden near the intersection.

The North Anthony corridor’s phase one also focuses on eliminating the giant stretches of parking lots. Parking lot entrances will be reduced and a boulevard will replace the current turn lane on North Anthony Boulevard, while roundabouts will be constructed at the intersections of Crescent and also St. Joe.

Phase two focuses on breaking up the parking lots by adding pocket parks, places to sit and ride bicycles and a fountain, and also reconstructing storefronts like Longe Optical and Baan Thai.

Now that the designs are developed and presented, Hoch is passing the baton on to those in the North Anthony neighborhood and the city of Fort Wayne to begin making the changes happen.