Citizens Square Needs Nearly $1 Million for New Elevators

By Rachel Martin

January 9, 2012 Updated Jan 10, 2012 at 9:31 AM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – The City Redevelopment Commission approved $950,000 in project costs towards new elevators in Citizens Square.

They're not as reliable as they should be inside Citizens Square, so City officials are asking for nearly $1 million for a renovation project—new elevators!

Members of the Redevelopment Commission told Indiana's NewsCenter at a meeting Monday afternoon that the elevators in Citizens Square are old, junky, and in need of repair. Although the City of Fort Wayne bought and renovated Citizens Square for $14 million in 2010, the elevators in the building have not been updated since the 1980s. There are five elevators in Citizens Square: three on the main floor, a freight elevator, and one for Mayor Tom Henry’s personal use.

City officials say the elevators passed inspection during the renovation period, but there have been reports of malfunctions and people getting stuck inside since then. Problems like that have been causing the city to go over their $1,000 monthly maintenance budge by an estimated $9 thousand dollars.

The Redevelopment Commission approved the $950,000 renovation cost by a 3 to 2 vote. Commissioner Thom Obergfell voted against the spending and says Citizens Square is costing the city more than originally planned.

“It's a little frustrating that we spent $7 million for the building, $7 million for improvements, got it bonded, and after it's all done we found out that there's a million dollars short to fix the elevators. I'm just surprised at the oversight,” Obergfell said.

Funding for the elevator project is coming from one of the Redevelopment Commission’s funds that contains $6 million. Because of that, some commissioners are concerned that elevators for a government building are not considered "economic development."

Indiana’s NewsCenter contacted commission Executive Director, Greg Leatherman, for comment on the elevator project, but he told us to call back during business hours Tuesday.

The cost of the elevator project is not final. Commissioners will be taking bids from four contractors to know exactly how much the project will cost.

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