$3 Million Question: Legacy Funds For Univ. St. Francis? (VIDEO)

By Rachel Martin - 21Alive

January 15, 2014 Updated Jan 15, 2014 at 12:07 AM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive) – Should Fort Wayne City Council approve $3 million from the Legacy Fund for the University of Saint Francis?

That was one topic introduced Tuesday night during Fort Wayne City Council’s regular session meeting.

Trois Hart, Associate Vice President of Marketing for the university says St. Francis has reached an agreement with the City of Fort Wayne to contribute $3 million to their $12.3 million renovation project of their two properties downtown. Hart says USF will raise $9.3 million of the cost.

If approved by council, Hart says the money will be used to add disability ramps and classrooms to the Chamber of Commerce building, 826 Ewing Street, for their School of Business.

The basement of the USF Performing Arts Center, formerly the Scottish Rite, will be transformed into the Music Technology Department.

"Bringing 200, 250, 300 [students and faculty] downtown will have some kind of positive benefit for the merchants there, and I think they'll see immediate social activity from it when it does happen,” said Hart.

However, during the open comments period of Tuesday night’s meeting, John Modezjewski said he’s not too keen on using Legacy Fund money, which is supposed to be used for all the citizens of Fort Wayne, for something that he doesn’t consider universal.

"Saint Francis should not have even asked for that [money] because of that so-called ‘Separation of Church and State’. There needs to be a little more thought given to who receives those Legacy Funds. Should it be private? Should it be public? I think it sends the wrong message,” said Modezjewski.

City council will discuss the matter over the next couple weeks, and are expected to make a final decision Jan. 28.

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