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TRANSPO prepares to sell former HQ site
source (w/video): WNDU.com

South Bend’s public bus company is in the driver’s seat as TRANSPO prepares to sell the site of its former corporate headquarters on Northside Boulevard.

That’s a concern for some in the neighborhood who see the site as having great potential, as well as potential problems.

“Why can’t the city buy this land? I mean they can buy every strip joint in town,” asked Karen Schefmeyer, Secretary of the East Bank Village Partnership. “I can’t understand why they wouldn’t buy this nice piece of land and have families come in here.”

In 2011, the Luecke administration did put together a deal to buy the TRANSPO site, but it was defeated by the common council.

“That was the discussion a couple of years ago, they declined,” said TRANSPO board member John Leszczynski. “And, but we’ll see what happens, I think right now we’re committed in discussions with the city, that it’s TRANSPO’s property and we’ll do what we can with it.”

The ten acre parcel is within walking distance of three schools and the Farmer’s Market and it’s big enough to hold about 50 single-family homes.

“These are your own house with some privacy, a yard in the front, a yard in the back, you can have a fenced in yard, you can have a dog, you can have a swing set,” said Karen Schefmeyer.

But Schefmeyer fears that the city’s desires for single family homes could take a back seat to the bus company’s needs. TRANSPO needs to purchase some new busses next year and the sale of the parcel could go a long way in covering those costs.

“We think it’s a very prime piece of property, it’s probably the only mass of choice riverfront property in the City of South Bend right on the edge of downtown South Bend,” said John Leszczynski.

Leszczynski estimated that the land was worth about $2 million. Schefmeyer fears that price would mean that only high density developments like apartments, townhouses or condos could be profitable.

“Have the people who can afford a half million dollar townhouse, have we exhausted that market? Do you see 200 or 150 people here wanting to spend that kind of money? Do we have that many millionaires in this town?” asked Schefmeyer. “The city has to get involved here.”

Again, in 2011, the city council voted against buying the TRANSPO property for $1 million down, and another $1.5 million in annual payments.

Only a few months remain for any kind of reconsideration. TRANSPO wants to sell the parcel by the end of this year.

Butterflies are free.
Reprinted from the South Bend Tribune Aug. 27, 2008

So our group, the Howard Park/East Bank (HPEB) Neighborhood Association is "releasing" more than 10 of them into our area.

But these are no typical butterflies. They are made of iron with 5-foot wingspans and painted in a rainbow of colors.

The jumbo butterflies are the creative inspiration of Ed Wedow, a LaPorte artist with a knack for ironwork.

My husband Don Schefmeyer and I visited his workshop in the dead of winter last year. I told Ed, "I want a permanent collection of the butterflies to be in our neighborhood. I want them to be free for everyone to visit year round."

My dream included placing them in the yards of residents and businesses in Howard Park and East Bank. Then we are developing a free walking map which will lead visitors to them.

I think the butterflies are a symbol of hope and promise for our historic neighborhood, a charming place to live and work.

At the intersection of Jefferson and St. Louis, there is a butterfly perched on Barnaby's Restaurant's west wall. Nextdoor is another on the alley wall of Radecki's Galleries. Nearby two more butterflies are tucked away in the corner garden at the Zion United Church of Christ, 715 E. Wayne, including a stunning yellow swallowtail in memory of Joan Wagoner, a church member and a long-time supporter of our group. I wanted to honor Joan for her dedication so we gave the church a butterfly in her name.

Across the street at The Parkview Atrium, where my husband Don Schefmeyer and I work, we put up a vibrant orange and yellow butterfly at the entrance of the Parkview Atrium office building.

At CircaArts, 528 E. Colfax, features a lacy blue/purple butterfly. Glenda Lamont, a CPA who works at 219 N. Hill, has a showy butterfly near her front entrance and a darling dragonfly in the back courtyard.

This fall more butterflies are coming too, including ones at the Buttons & Bows, The Natural Way and Dr. Kathleen Neuhoff's offices – all on Jefferson. Howard and Pam Dosmann, owners of Northern Electric, 116 N. Hill St., are selecting a butterfly.

I've also contact AM General to see if they would like a Hummer butterfly, perched near the river.

To secure the butterflies, we poured concrete footers around the posts and then locked them down too. I don't want them flying away.

At Art Beat, on Thursday, Sept. 4, 2008, our association will have a booth featuring the artist Ed Wedow.

For the record, we officially will release the butterflies to the public then. It's their "coming out" party.

(Karen Murphy Schefmeyer is the secretary of the Howard Park/East Bank Neighborhood Association, which has dubbed her "Madame Butterfly.")



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