Community Center parking entrance could move for new building

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A new entrance to the Community Center could be built along Berry Street to allow construction of the Ashberry building along Maiden Lane downtown.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A small change in traffic flow could happen downtown if the plans for a new commercial and garage complex are approved.

The primary development plan for the Ashberry building was approved by the Fort Wayne Plan Commission Monday evening. The new building would be built between Main and Berry Streets along Maiden Lane. Access to the parking garage would be along Maiden.

A handful of people showed up at the public hearing the previous week to express concern about how the city’s Community Center would be affected by the work happening across the street.

The Community Center’s current entrance connects the parking lot to Maiden Lane. The representative for the developers told the commission Monday that they are working with the city in moving the entrance of the Community Center’s parking lot to Berry Street, west of Cindy’s Diner.

According to the spokesman for Parks and Recreation, Rob Hines, the department gave the developer “some stipulations to maintain the functionality” of the center’s parking lot when asked about potential changes several months ago. The developer was open to the suggestions, but gave no firm plans on construction.

Maiden Lane, once a one-way street, has been converted to a two-way street. The developers are proposing changing the single-block street back to a one-way, with traffic flowing north.

Among those taking concerns to the plan commission was Dick Stoner, the long-time owner and founder of Stoner’s Funstore on Harrison Street. Stoner utilizes parking spaces behind his shop, next to the lot where the proposed building would rise. He was assured that an agreement would be worked out with the developers to keep his spots in place and keep access points for his customers.

This is the view of the proposed Ashberry building from Main St. and Maiden Ln.

The Ashberry building would feature commercial space on both the north and south ends of the building, capping the ends of a parking garage. The garage would have room for about 380 cars which would include both private and public spaces.

An interior drive-through has also been proposed for the commercial space on the Main Street side of the building, along with exterior lighting that would accent the building similar to the Ash Skyline complex a block to the south.

All of the property already belongs to the developers, who plan demolition before the end of the year. The construction of the building was planned to coincide with the building of the boutique hotel across Main Street.

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