Mayor Henry endorses plan to join City and County Offices at 200 E. Berry St.

Press release from the City of Fort Wayne:

Mayor Henry endorses plan to join City and County Offices at 200 E. Berry St.
Preferred plan would locate City Police and County Sheriff in City-County Building

Today, Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry announced that he is asking the Allen County Commissioners to work with the City to co-locate City and County public safety functions, including the Fort Wayne Police Department and the Allen County Sheriff’s Department, in the City-County building, and locating other City and County government services in shared space at 200 E. Berry Street.

“In a letter the Commissioners sent to me this week, they indicated their desire to co-locate Fort Wayne Police, the Sheriff Department and other public safety functions,” Mayor Henry said. “I believe that is an option worth pursuing.”

The City has been exploring options to better meet its space needs since 2003. The issue became more urgent this summer as the expiration of the Fort Wayne Police Department’s lease at its Creighton Street headquarters neared expiration. After exploring a number of alternatives, and identifying the property at 200 E. Berry Street as the location best suited to meet those needs, the Henry Administration along with the Commissioners tasked the Working Group, made up of John Stafford, Pat Roller and Mark Royse, to examine various options for using the building.

On September 30th, the Working Group presented four:

  1. The City of Fort Wayne moving all of its operations, including the Fort Wayne Police Department, to 200 E. Berry Street was determined to be perhaps the most cost effective option and the easiest to implement.
  2. Conversely, the most expensive and most complicated option involved moving the City’s police and fire departments to 200 E. Berry Street, the County Sheriff to the City-County Building and splitting other City and County functions between both buildings.
  3. A third option would co-locate Fort Wayne Police, Public Safety and the County Sheriff at 200 E. Berry Street, and other City and County functions continuing to share space in the City-County Building.

However, the fourth recommendation to co-locate the Fort Wayne Police Department and the Allen County Sheriff’s Department to the City-County Building, with other City and County functions sharing space at 200 E. Berry Street has emerged as the option that has gained the most consensuses.

“Once again, I thank the Working Group, for objectively examining the space needs of both city and county government. Their efforts provided transparent, sensible recommendations supported by factual data and sound financial analysis,” said Mayor Henry.

“I look forward to continuing an open and inclusive dialogue about our mutual space needs. Over the next few weeks, in addition to working with County leaders, I’ve directed my internal team to come up with ways to gather additional community input. I’ve asked that those efforts include a public forum as well as online feedback,” Mayor Henry added. “I look forward to the next steps in this process as we work together to strengthen our community and better serve all the citizens of Fort Wayne and Allen County.”

The City hopes to move ahead with a plan by October 30, 2009.

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  1. John Stafford is one of the top minds in the community, and one of the finest people you will ever meet. I trust his recommendations as being well-thought and based in logic. I would add that Stafford looks past the turfism, too. He is a fine public servant. With that said, this is going to create quite a bit of confusion if implemented. Both city and county offices will be looking for their files for weeks, if not months, and citizens will be lost. So, a goal has to be to create a bridge system that will help citizens find their way while the moving vans are active. Additionally, the county needs to put their buildings on the market and in an open bid process so that anyone can bid, the insiders do not get an inside track and new businesses can grown in the downtown. This is key. Currently, many buildings in the center are taken up by administrators of one sort or another. Time for store fronts, restaurants and bars.

    • Excellent points, Jim. I wonder if somehow incentives could be given to new, small businesses to purchase some of the buildings and use them to “grow” their businesses? Reduced prices, lower interest rates than normal all predicated on a long-term presence in the downtown. I don’t know how the mechanics of it would work, but perhaps it is time to look at giving smaller businesses, that often can’t afford the higher rates of a downtown presence, an opportunity?


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