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Moving In, Moving On
Fort Wayne Reader
And so here we are…
After years of controversy and contention, bitter words and angry rants, predictions of disaster and catastrophe on a scale not seen since Godzilla and Rodan teamed up to fight Ghidora, the long-held dream has finally come to pass.
Health care reform? Heck no!
PA is talking about the decision to co-locate city and country government offices.
On March 26 the City-County Space Utilization Task Force unanimously agreed on a plan for the two governments to share office space downtown. The plan includes putting both the city and county police departments in the City-County building, while moving other government offices to the property on 200 E Berry Street, a.k.a. Renaissance Square.
Locating both the Allen and city police forces in the City-County building was approved by Sheriff Fries and Chief York — they both said they would prefer that building to the Berry property. Police Chief Rusty York, said much could be gained by the two forces collaborating; Fries was more lukewarm, saying he didn’t see how it would help all that much, but then again, he didn’t see how it could hurt much, either.
But all is not done yet. The cost to renovate the Berry street property is estimated to come in at around $8.1 million. The city would pick up that tab, while the county would pay the $3 million towards the estimated $3.9 million renovation cost of the City-County building, with the city contributing an additional $1 million for a crime lab. While the City Council already approved the $14 million to buy the property last year, it still needs to vote on the additional $1 million for the City-County building renovations, and County Council needs to approve the $3 million. Those votes should happen in April.
Talking about talking
Though talks continue between the City of Fort Wayne and Indiana & Michigan Power over the city’s light utility, the lease has officially come to an end, which means the City of Fort Wayne Community Trust is available.
The Community Trust is a trust established 35 years ago when the lease between the City and I&M was first signed. It’s currently worth around $33 million. FWR covered it in issue #142, except we called it the Light Lease Trust Fund, because Community Trust just sounds… well, boring.
But the Community Trust is its proper name, and in a statement to the trust’s board of trustees in late March, Mayor Henry suggested that soon might be a good time to start thinking about what we might want to do with all that money. “The natural conclusion of the lease creates a common focal point for the start of a dialogue about our community’s real goals and priorities, our wants and needs, our hopes and dreams,” the Mayor’s statement reads.
It continues: “We must always remember that the trust belongs to the people of Fort Wayne. I believe that our citizens should have the chance to contribute their own ideas and to engage in discovering what will be the best use for these funds. Our choices must be ones we study thoughtfully and make together as a community. They will deserve the same kind of careful consideration that inspired the formation of the trust itself.”
No concrete plans yet. Perhaps renovations to the current City-County Building might include space for a gigantic suggestion box?