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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, December 02, 2015 1:14 am

IPFW to aid GE campus reuse effort

Rosa Salter Rodriguez | The Journal Gazette

The group of residents investigating preservation and reuse of the General Electric campus in downtown Fort Wayne is seeking help from IPFW experts.

City Councilman Geoff Paddock, D-5th, who convened the group earlier this year, said the university’s Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics will be helping the group develop public forums to gather and evaluate ideas for presentation to GE officials.

Paddock’s remarks came at the group’s meeting Thursday afternoon, during which he reported that he and City Council member Tom Smith, R-1st, had met with representatives of Greater Fort Wayne, who told them they had "established a rapport" with GE officials.

"They are paying attention to us, so that is a very positive sign," Paddock said.

Paddock said he envisioned at least two or three forums, and possibly more.

He said he hoped they could begin by the end of October or early November.

Andy Downs, Mike Downs Center coordinator, said in a telephone interview after the meeting that the center would prepare a proposal for how it could assist. He said a price would be attached to the help, although students would likely contribute much of the labor.

One idea, advanced by Smith, is that some of the buildings could become part of a film studio or soundstage. Another idea, advanced briefly at Thursday’s meeting, was for a vertical farming or other type of urban farming operation which involves growing plants indoors.