City officials are looking to make 200 E. Berry Street home to City Hall. The majority of city offices are currently located in the City-County Building. The Police Department says they're working in crowded conditions, and a new facility would help.
The Police Department's lease ends September 30 of this year. Michael Joyner, the Fort Wayne Police Department's Public Information Officer, showed the media what he calls inadequate space, where they currently work.
In addition, the City's lease with the County ends on December 31, 2010. This is not the first time the city has considered moving to Renaissance Square. Two years ago the property cost nearly double what it does now.
Mayor Tom Henry says “I believe the time is right. The money is right. The long term benefits for our citizens and county are outstanding.”
The city says revamping and expanding the police department would cost $17.3 million. Building a new facility would cost $22 million. They believe the best alternative is to buy 200 E. Berry Street. That price is $7.3 million. After renovations and furnishing the total cost, $14.5 million.
The city would own the building after financing over a period of 20 years.
Mayor Henry says “200 E. Berry Street is unique. It's a one of a kind opportunity in Downtown Fort Wayne that will allow us to bring together all city departments under one roof, and make use of all of our resources.”
Mayor Henry also says the move could save taxpayers 500-thousand dollars a year.
County Commissioners were invited to the press conference this morning. Mike Green, the Allen County Commissioners Public Information Officer, says they were not surprised by the announcement. “The period between now and the end of 2010, when the city would undergo their plan to ultimately move out, the county commissioners will be looking at all the viable options. The goal as always is to keep county services effective for constituent.”
Both County and City officials say they will continue to work together even in different buildings.
Green says “This should not diminish in any way cooperative and collaborative efforts between the city and county.”
The city says the renovation of Renaissance Square is expected to take about a year and a half.