The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, January 14, 2020 1:00 am

History Center to repair elevator

Redevelopment OKs $44,000 for upgrades

DAVE GONG | The Journal Gazette

In a unanimous vote Monday, the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission approved the use of more than $44,000 for elevator improvements at the Fort Wayne History Center. 

Monday also marked the Redevelopment Commission's first meeting of 2020 and included two new members: Nathan Hartman and former Fort Wayne Community Development Director Greg Leatherman.

Hartman was appointed by the Fort Wayne City Council on Jan. 7, replacing former Redevelopment Commission member Thom Obergfell. Leatherman was appointed by Mayor Tom Henry to fill a seat previously held by former Mayor Win Moses. 

The History Center funding approved Monday was originally part of a $500,000 grant issued by the Redevelopment Commission in 2013 for multiyear improvements to the 302 E. Berry St. facility, Community Development administrator Craig Berndt said. Of that grant, $44,215 is left.

“The list of items that was included that they could work on didn't include the elevator, and the elevator needs to be fixed,” Berndt said. “So they asked if they could allocate that money ... to work on the elevator.”

The total repair cost will probably be more than the amount approved Monday, Berndt added, noting that other funding methods are being explored to cover the remainder. 

However, there was some confusion among commission members regarding who actually owns the building. Christopher Guerin, commission president, advised Berndt to check on the building's ownership, because if it is not owned by the city, it's possible the History Center could qualify for help through Arts United's Renaissance Fund.

According to Arts United's website, the Renaissance Fund “helps meet the capital maintenance needs of Arts United and our funded member groups.”

In other business, the Redevelopment Commission approved a one-year extension to a parking management contract with ABM Industry Groups LLC. ABM manages parking operations across four of Fort Wayne's surface lots and five parking garages, a total of about 4,077 parking spaces, Berndt said.

The contract was originally approved in January 2016, with two optional one-year extensions. 

The extension was approved in a 3-1 vote.

City Councilman Jason Arp voted against the extension, while Hartman abstained. 

“Their performance has been exceptional and superior in terms of managing the overall condition and helping us identify a capital plan for the garages,” Redevelopment Director Nancy Townsend said. “We get very positive feedback from our parking customers in terms of their responsiveness.”

Townsend said she could remember only one complaint over the past four years of ABM's contract. 

The contract will expire Jan. 31, 2021. The city will issue a request for proposals this spring to line up a parking management company for 2021 and beyond, Townsend said.

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