City, County to host open house of Citizens Square – 6/27/2011

News release from the City of Fort Wayne and Allen County:

City, County to host open house of Citizens Square June 27
New home of local government at 200 E. Berry St. available for public tours from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry and Allen County Commissioners Linda Bloom, Therese Brown and Nelson Peters in cooperation with City Clerk Sandy Kennedy and the City and County councils invite the public to tour the new home of local government, Citizens Square, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, June 27. The ceremonial ribbon cutting will be at 5:15 p.m.

“This building creates new opportunities for the efficiency and cooperation of City and County government while continuing to be centrally located near the Courthouse and the City-County Building,” Mayor Tom Henry said. “Citizens Square marks a new chapter in how local government can help businesses to prosper and families to thrive.”

Representatives from each department will be available in their respective area of the building to answer questions from the public and help guide visitors through the 220,000-square-foot building located at 200 E. Berry St.

“The community-wide desire to see greater efficiencies in local government makes co-location of many City and County departments an appropriate exercise, and we are happy to see this day finally come,” Commissioner Peters said. “We look forward to a culmination of this initiative with the co-location of City and County public safety departments in the City-County Building in 2012.”

In addition to the self-guided tours, refreshments and giveaways will be available. Because of the social nature of the event, City and County offices will not extend business or transactional hours during the open house. People who need to conduct with business with the respective City or County office must do so during regular business hours that day.

Free parking is available in the parking lot immediately north of Citizens Square and the lot east of the History Center. Downtown parking meters are free after 5 p.m.

Citizens Square houses all of the City offices that once occupied the City-County Building plus Neighborhood Code Enforcement. From County government, the new building houses the offices from the City-County Building, with the exception of the Assessor, Treasurer, Auditor, Recorder, Election Board and Voter Registration. The County Building Department and County Highway Department relocated to Citizens Square as well.

Citizens Square was originally constructed for the beloved Fort Wayne department store Wolf & Dessauer. In the 1990s, Lincoln Financial fully renovated the building for office space for the insurance company and to serve as the Lincoln Museum, which closed in 2008. In the mid-2000s, the building served as the temporary location of the Allen County Public Library’s downtown branch during the library’s expansion construction. The City of Fort Wayne purchased the building in December 2009 and renovated it to effectively serve residents and taxpayers.

The County will be renovating the 40-year-old City-County Building to serve as the future home of City and County public safety offices. In addition to the County offices which will remain in the building, the City of Fort Wayne Police Department will move downtown from its Creighton Avenue location, and the Fort Wayne Fire Department’s administrative offices will relocate from Wallace Street. The Allen County Sheriff will also have some its offices in that building.

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