Hoch Associates architects working to enrich life in 46807 ZIP code neighborhoods
A survey of residents is underway and continues through Jan. 8.
By Kevin Kilbane | News-Sentinel
Hoch Associates architects wowed North Anthony neighborhood residents last summer with design plans for revitalizing and enhancing that area's commercial corridor. Now the Fort Wayne firm hopes to do the same for neighborhoods in the 46807 ZIP code area on the city's near-southwest side.
"We are giving tools of opportunity – what could be, what can be," said Jim Hoch, the firm's principal architect.
It will be up to individual businesses and residents to take the recommendations and turn them into reality, Hoch said.
The work already has started with the firm asking 46807 ZIP code area residents to take a survey at www.surveymonkey.com/r/46807. Participants also can pick up and fill out paper versions of the survey at Building H on the Summit campus, 1025 W. Rudisill Blvd. The survey completion deadline is Jan. 8.
Hoch believes vital neighborhoods near downtown are a key factor in both usage of planned downtown redevelopment and in retaining and attracting talented people of the millennial generation.
Last year, Hoch Associates provided about $15,000 in consulting work to the North Anthony and Forest Park neighborhoods after they tallied the most votes in the firm's March Fort Wayne-ness contest, which pitted near-downtown neighborhoods in a basketball tourney-style brackets popularity competition. The work provided to the winners included branding ideas for their area and redesign plans for business facades and traffic patterns.
This year, the firm decided to focus on the 46807 ZIP code area, in part because Hoch and some other firm employees live in that ZIP code, he said. Hoch grew up in that area's Southwood Park neighborhood and moved back there as an adult.
His firm also is working with the Summit, which is located in that ZIPcode, to determine how to its campus can better identify with and connect with neighborhoods around it.
Data gained in the survey of residents will give the firm important insight into what people believe are their area's greatest assets, its weaknesses and how they spend their time there, said Dan Kennedy, Hoch Associates' marketing director.
They are especially interested in hearing from the large number of people renting apartments or homes in the 46807 ZIP code, Hoch and Kennedy said. They want to learn what will enhance life for them there and lead them to connect more with the neighborhood, Hoch said.
After gathering survey data, Hoch Associates plans to hold neighborhood focus group meetings. The firm then will work with neighborhood leaders and the Summit to propose uses for under-used areas in the neighborhoods and to develop an action plan for implementing the ideas.
Residents of the 46807 ZIP code area are really invested in their neighborhoods, Hoch said, so he and his staff hope to harness that interest and provide results that residents can use to enhance life there even more.