Timeline on Buckner Park-neighboring ice cream shop construction extended

Local News

ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) – Years after planning to open an ice cream shop, the owner of a small building next Buckner Park said he still intending to open the business.

According to the Allen County Hearing Officer staff report, Parkside Cafe was proposed back in 2015 to open in a building west of Buckner Park and east of Flaugh Road. The structure is more than 60 years old.

Built as part of the Flaugh family dairy farm, which eventually became Buckner Park, the building was zoned for residential use. A variance would be needed to allow the business to operate.

The proposed ice cream shop viewed from the entrance to Buckner Park. Bass Road can be seen on the left side of the picture.

“My intent is to serve the neighborhood, Buckner Park visitors and Aboite Trail users with a clean family-oriented ice cream destination with sidewalks, safely-planned parking and bike racks,” applicant Christopher Sluyter told the zoning staff. “The property on the west, owned by the Seventh Day Adventist Church, and the park property on the east will be enhanced by creating an attractive restored building and clean property.”

An expansion to the building for storage space was also proposed.

One year after the initial request, the staff from the Department of Planning Services followed up on the proposed business and found the property changed hands, according to the report. However, plans for the ice cream shop were still in the works. Permits were issued to make repairs to fire damage on the building.

In 2018, the parking lot of the building was used to store equipment for the Bass Road improvement project.

A building along Bass Road, at the entrance to Buckner Park, sits quiet years after it was proposed to be an ice cream shop.

While small changes may have been made the building over the years, the property continued to appear vacant at the start of 2020.

Sluyter said Wednesday morning that new windows have been installed and old electrical and plumbing systems have been removed. Work has been slow because Sluyter has had several surgeries over the past few years.

A two-year extension for the work was approved as Sluyter suggested construction could begin this spring.

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