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Harry Baals

Harry Baals building gets thousands of votes

FORT WAYNE – After The Journal Gazette story about naming the new city-county building at 200 E. Berry St. went global on Tuesday, thousands of votes were cast for the Harry Baals Government Center.

Shortly after 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, the name had 8,006 votes at www.feedbackfortwayne.org.

  • The Eugene Johnson Memorial Center had moved back into second place, with 441 votes.
  • The Anthony Wayne Government Center had 429 votes.
  • Renaissance Square had 386.
  • The Rudisill Center had 345.
Deputy Mayor Beth Malloy said Monday that naming 200 E. Berry St. the Harry Baals Government Center was "probably not" going to happen.

"We love Fort Wayne, too," she said. "We're not going to make any decisions that look bad."

Jim Baals, 51, who has lived in the city his entire life, said it's unfortunate that his great-uncle's name won't be considered for the building.

"Harry served four terms and was a wonderful mayor. I don't know what the problem is," he said. "I understand people are going to poke fun at it. That's OK. I've lived with that name for 51 years now and I've gotten through it. I think everybody else can, too."

City spokesman Frank Suarez said the city has no regrets about opening the name selection up to people online.

"It is a new way of reaching out to the community," he said. "The fact that 17,000 votes have come in tell us the buzz created by this is really good. When was the last time somebody could say they had fun with their government? We've had fun with this."

Online voting ends Friday.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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