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Council approves purchase of Avenue of Autos buildings to save money for Fort Wayne City garages

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The Avenue of Autos is north of Illinois Road along Fort Wayne's west side. City officials plan to move a number of city garages and storage facilities to the area to save money.

Fort Wayne city officials are seeking to purchase three buildings at the Avenue of Autos along Illinois Road in an effort to expand the city's public works and public safety capabilities.

The proposal would have the Fleet Department moving to 633 Avenue of Autos. The Radio Shop and the Fort Wayne Police Department’s storage operations would move to 811 Avenue of Autos. The Street Light Maintenance, Sign Shop, and Traffic Signals departments would move to 505 Avenue of Autos. All of these buildings would be renovated.

The buildings these departments have been utilizing were built between the years of 1920 and 1954; the last time any of them saw renovations was the Fleet Department in 1969. Additionally, the storage building for the police department is leased annually at $50,000, and the city says it is running out of space.

The proposal was introduced and advanced by City Council Tuesday night. It has a price tag of $15 million and would be paid for with "existing city funds." In a statement Tuesday, the mayor's office projects the decision to remodel existing buildings instead of building from the ground up will save $34.7 million.

The measure needs to be approved by the redevelopment commission, which will take up the proposal on Monday, February 14.

Council also made final approval on $5.2 million in Legacy funds for a Southeast housing project, as well as sidewalk improvements in the 6th District using revenue from the 2017 income tax increase.

Zach joined 89.1 WBOI as a reporter and local host for All Things Considered. He currently hosts Morning Edition.