Residents Tour New Government Center

Fort Wayne, Ind. – Mayor Tom Henry today welcomed residents to the Citizens Square to celebrate the official opening of the new home of city and county government.

“The decision to co-locate makes things easier for our residents and helps government operate more efficiently,” Mayor Henry said, at a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the official opening.  “Our newly-renovated building rolls out the welcome mat for new jobs and opens the door for new business development in this one-stop shop.”

In addition to creating a single location for residents to pay their utility bills, apply for various types of permits and handle all of their government-related business, Citizens Square also serves as the place where companies and developers can go to file their plans for new or growing businesses.  Mayor Henry said the consolidation – along with the collaboration that on the new stream-lined land-use permitting process – will make it easier to invest in and do business in Fort Wayne and Allen County.

“There is no better place than our city for good jobs to grow, companies to prosper and families to thrive,”  Mayor Henry said.

Guests were invited to take self-guided tours around the building, making note of historic artifacts located on each floor.

Citizens Square on East Berry Street has been home to several entities, over the years.

The building was constructed in the 1950s, as the home of the Wolf and Dessauer Department Store.  After the Wolf & Dessauer closed, LS Ayres bought the building in 1969.  LS Ayres closed and the building was vacant for nearly a decade.   In 1988, Waterfield Mortgage Company bought the building – which was completely redeveloped -- and the mortgage company leased space to Lincoln National Corporation.  By 1991, Lincoln National had become the major tenant of the fully-occupied building, which was named “Renaissance Square,” at the request of Waterfield Mortgage executives, to honor the revitalization of the city’s central business district.

By 1995, a portion of the East Berry Street building became home to the Lincoln Museum.   In 1998, Lincoln National Corporation moved its offices out of the building in 2002.  In 2003, the Allen County Library moved into the building, temporarily, while an expansion project was being done to the library building.  The library moved out once its building on Library Plaza was completed in 2007.  The Lincoln Museum moved out of the building in 2008.  The city purchased the building in 2009.

The building renovation project included installation of a new high-reflectivity roof and new roof insulation to improve heating and cooling efficiency.  It also included materials – such as carpet, ceiling tile, floor tiles and steel wall framing – made from recycled products.

Furniture from the City County building was reused and new light sensors were installed in all the offices and open areas, so that lights turn off when the space is unoccupied.

Mayor Henry praised the move as one that will give city and county government the opportunity to work together and to be more efficient and responsive to residents.

More than 30 local contactors and 250 skilled labor workers were employed during the renovation of Citizens Square.

The opening of Citizens Square comes nearly 40 years after the City County Building was dedicated in September 1971, in a spirit of teamwork between city and county government.

The Open House was sponsored by The Kroger Co.; Coca-Cola; Gilkey’s Wholesale Greenhouse; Ceruti’s Catering,  A Party Apart and CCI.