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Last updated: Fri. Dec. 13, 2013 - 12:12 pm EDT

Cindy’s may soon move nearby with city’s boost

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FORT WAYNE — Cindy’s Diner could soon have a new home – and it won’t be far from its current spot.

City officials have devised a plan for the iconic eatery to move about a block northwest from the corner of Wayne and Harrison streets to the intersection of West Berry Street and Maiden Lane.

The diner would be relocated to a portion of the parking lot of the Community Center, according to the city.

Now, all that needs to be done is a vote allowing the move by the city Parks Board.

Mayor Tom Henry and Redevelopment Commission Executive Director Greg Leatherman presented a rough proposal for the move to the parks board Thursday.

The eatery must move because of a $71 million development project downtown that includes a new national headquarters for Ash Brokerage as well as some residential development.

Henry asked the parks board whether it could expedite the process of moving the diner as work on the development project looms.

“If we wait four or five weeks, that will put us behind schedule,” Henry said.

Leatherman did not have an estimate of how much the move would cost the city or other details involving the move.

But he did say it would give Cindy’s Diner a “sense of permanency” in the spot behind the Community Center and also theorized that it might give the eatery’s owner more business.

The eatery’s owner would also pay rent to the parks department, Leatherman said.

While parks board members were mostly receptive to the idea, they decided not to give the proposal a formal vote Thursday.

They wanted to see more details in writing, which they encouraged city officials to bring to the board’s next meeting early next month.

“We need to be careful when we divest (property) for commercial use,” board president Richard Samek said. “I’m not all that comfortable with giving it the green light tonight.”

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