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Harry Baals decision outweighed by mayor

Fort Wayne is a good destination for political candidates, like Barack Obama, shown here stopping on the campaign trail there in 2008. The mayor of Fort Wayne recently ignored an online vote to name a civic enter the Harry Baals Government Center.
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. - The voice of the people has been ignored, as the mayor of Fort Wayne, Ind., decided to ignore a popular online vote to name a new civic center on Berry Street the "Harry Baals Government Center."

Mayor Tom Henry announced Monday instead that the new city and county government center will be named "Citizens Square."

The late Harry Baals, a four-term mayor in the 1930s and 1950s, received 23,817 votes in an online poll to have his name grace the building. The second most popular name was "Thunder Dome."

City spokesman Frank Suarez says Henry didn't want to name the building after a person, especially not someone primarily associated with city government because it will be a city-county building.

However, the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reports that the existing City-County Building, which is owned by the Allen County commissioners, will be renamed in honor of the late Commissioner Ed Rousseau.

City officials had previously said they were worried about jokes Baals' name might inspire.

City and country workers will move into Citizens Square next month.