City Council notes – 11/3/2009

The Fort Wayne City Council

Notes from tonight’s Fort Wayne City Council meeting.

Please note – the Metropolitan Human Relations Commission appointments will not take place this evening due to a scheduling conflict.

S-09-10-27 – passed; none against

S-09-10-28 – project has been around for a long time.  Councilmen Bender and Harper have discussed it with the City.  There is an outfall that winds around which is difficult to maintain and is not sized correctly.  They will be determining what the level of the lake is and what it should be.  This is for a consulting contract.  The lake is a former gravel pit.  A boat and sonar will be used to determine the depth of the water.  30 plus firms responded out of a list of 120.  Passed; none against.

R-09-10-35 – Appropriation of $250,000 to the Lincoln Foundation Collection.  Two installments of $125,000 this year and next.  Funds to be used exclusively here.  Funds will be CEDIT dollars.  We believe we can manage it out of the 2009 and 2010 budgets.

Ian Rolland, former Lincoln Financial Group CEO, is before the Council and giving history of the events leading up to tonight.  “You might remember the outrage when Lincoln announced the museum’s closing.  Many people in the community felt the collection belonged here.”  Coalition of groups in the state formed.  Looked for existing expertise to keep the collection here.  Discovered at the Allen County Public Library, a significant collection of genealogical materials.  The collection includes some 20,000 books.  The Indiana Historical Museum will collaborate.

Gettysburg and Springfield, and Fort Wayne were the three finalists selected in the final round. Lincoln told them Fort Wayne was the best – it was even close.   Plans are to digitize the collection.  “It will be available to anyone anywhere in the world that has a computer.  […] Lincoln wanted access, we provided access to anyone in the world.”  Committed to raise enough money to make it happen now, as well as into the future.  They have started a campaign.  Trying to raise $12 million which will come from all over the State, not just Fort Wayne.  Already received over $980,000 with $2.2 million in outstanding pledges.  Pending requests of over $5 million which are outstanding.  This means the request has been made, waiting for the donor to respond.

ACPL Director Jeff Krull is talking.  The original copy of the Emancipation Proclamation will be housed in Indianapolis, even though they don’t agree with it.  “Our goal is to literally digitize every piece of paper in that collection.  We will make it available to researchers in person, continuing the policies of the Lincoln Museum.”

Councilman Glynn Hines is talking about marketing the asset so that more conventions and such are drawn to Fort Wayne.

Krull is responding about different ideas, such as holding seminars, trainings, etc…  Part of the endowment will cover two of the librarians from the Lincoln Museum.

Tom Didier – piggybacking on Hines question.  Asking about swapping documents with other venues.

Mitch Harper – asking about conservation aspects.  Who is financially responsible for which collections?  Rolland is responding that skilled people will be on-hand in each location for the materials entrusted to that location.   The locations will be financially responsible for those staff.

Karen Goldner – digitization happens here in Fort Wayne with staff being paid  here.  Talking  about economic impact of collection here on Fort Wayne.  Also educational opportunities.  In terms of private money – some money from state, some from Indianapolis.  Private sector money currently is almost all from Fort Wayne at this point.  This means the rest should be easy to raise in rest of the State.  State library is providing grants around $250,000 for digitization efforts.

Liz Brown – Did Liz anticipate putting any of the dollars in their own budget?  Krull – they have made a commitment to the Lincoln librarians.  To be funded from the Friends of Lincoln endowment.  Liz – librarians are on ACPL staff and budget, but going forward, funding will come from the endowment.

In terms of ACPL, if they have financial problems, will it affect this?  Krull – if it ever came to that, they’re prepared to keep it going.  Over the last 18 to 24 months, dropped head counts due to attrition and realignments.  Revenue enhancements.  We are in the black.  Will this become the “favored child” if the rest of the organization is struggling?  We might have to.  First priority is to get the digitization done to preserve and make it accessible.

Liz wondering if they’ve approached the City of Indianapolis?  Not at this point yet.

Mitch – they have seen cash, no gifts of appreciable stocks.  Ian – result of current economy is that pledges are spread.  Some as long as five years out.  There are legally binding agreements in place.  Collection cannot be sold, has to remain in their locations.  Lincoln only wanted to deal with one owner – hence the State Museum.

Something in the future to tie in local universities with their humanities courses.

Ian – would like to see future acquisition possibilities considered.

Liz – source of CEDIT dollars.  CEDIT plan passed in 2009.  Some things able to do, others not.  In preparing the 2010 CEDIT plan, figured it could be done then.  It’s in the 2010 budget plan.

Passed; none opposed.

S-09-10-23 – passed; none opposed.

Councilman Pape arrived.

S-09-10-25 and S-09-10-26 – both passed; none opposed.

S-09-10-22 – replacement trucks, not adding to the fleet.  Two trucks are high maintenance trucks which were kept longer than they should have.  They have stopped putting money into it and parked it.  Will be on-line in the next two months.  Old trucks sent to auction, money goes back into the General Fund.  Passed; none opposed.

S-09-10-24 – passed; none opposed.

Glynn Hines is sharing that Mayor Tom Hines was at the Neighborhood Presidents meeting.  He talked about the fact that he is trying to find funding to keep the two cut Neighborhood Advocates positions.

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