Deal Reached Between City & Courthouse Trust Shortly Before City Council Meeting

Anthony Wayne Statue To Stay At Freimann Square

By Rachel Martin - 21Alive
By Eric Dutkiewicz - 21Alive
By Nathan France - 21Alive

August 13, 2013 Updated Aug 13, 2013 at 11:56 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive) - The Anthony Wayne Statue will remain at Freimann Square following a deal made Tuesday between the City of Fort Wayne and the Allen County Courthouse Preservation Trust.

Al Moll, Parks & Recreation Department director, announced to City Council the withdrawal of a proposal to move the statue from Freimann Square to the Allen County Courthouse as a result of the agreement.

The deal calls for the Preservation Trust to pay for about $100,000 worth of improvements to the area surrounding the statue. The improvements will include trimming back trees, adding new lighting and partially refurbishing the Revolutionary War general sitting upon his horse.

Mayor Tom Henry, D-Fort Wayne, and the Parks & Recreation Department announced plans last week to relocate the Anthony Wayne Statue, hoping to make it more visible downtown.The $75,000 proposal was set for a vote at the Board of Park Commissioners on Thursday. Both Freimann Square and the Allen County Courthouse Green are city parks.

The Allen County Courthouse Preservation Trust, a private organization started in 1994 to maintain the courthouse's artistic value, objected to the administration's plans to move the statue. The executive saying it would compromise the beauty of the Courthouse Green.

City Council was also prepared to pass a resolution opposing the move before the deal was made.

"The improvements that the Preservation Trust provided were obviously a selling point," Moll says. "It would have looked fine moving it over to the Courthouse Green, but it would maybe have obstructed a little bit of the symmetry. And it would've taken public dollars to do that."

City Councilman John Crawford, R-At Large, says he is pleased with the deal because it spares the taxpayers the expense of moving and restoring the statue. He says he disapproved of relocating the statue because of the cost to tax payers.

"My only objection was not that I didn't think the statue would look good over there," Crawford says, "but, we just spent a year telling everybody we don't have any extra money to do anything that's absolutely necessary."
The deal between the City and the Preservation Trust will be entirely paid for with private funds.

Moll and Crawford both say that the deal was being worked out late into the day Tuesday.

Crawford says he called Mayor Henry around 4:15 p.m. to ask the mayor to reconsider the proposal, and to take the offer from the Preservation Trust.

Moll adds that both sides worked until roughly a half hour prior to the City Council meeting before agreeing to a deal.

"He (Mayor Henry) obviously preferred to have it relocated to the Courthouse Green," Moll says. "Looking forward, this was the best track; and this is why he decided to go that way."

There is no timetable for the improvements, Moll says, but he expects input from both sides for precise details on changes.

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