I recently joined community leaders and riverfront advocates to unveil the schematic designs for the first phase of riverfront development to enhance Fort Wayne and the region.
Development would occur in eight areas on the south and north sides of the St. Marys River between Harrison Street and the historic Wells Street Bridge. Highlights of the plans include a promenade, park pavilion, event lawn, entry plaza with sculpture/signage, urban bioswale, educational water feature, urban streetscape, central plaza, urban riverfront terraces, elevated boardwalk, dock, interactive sculpture, and children’s play area.
The first phase of riverfront development will be focused on the public spaces in a park setting. As a result, the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department led by Parks Director Al Moll will lead and manage the riverfront development efforts. Anticipated future private riverfront development would occur in areas surrounding the public spaces.
For the construction phase to begin, the Fort Wayne Board of Park Commissioners is in the process of acquiring three properties along Superior and Harrison streets. In addition, a contract for final design, engineering development, construction documents, project bidding, and construction administration needs to be approved by City Council. The contract investment of $1.7 million is part of the $6 million in Legacy funding previously approved by City Council.
It’s anticipated construction could start in mid-to-late 2017 with completion in mid-to-late 2018. The projected construction investment would likely be $20 million. Potential funding sources could be Regional Cities, Legacy, private contributions, and resources from the previous allocation of Legacy funding approved by City Council.
The Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne is a partner with the City to develop the riverfront. The Community Foundation has committed to providing $3 million toward the riverfront implementation efforts. In addition, the Allen County-Fort Wayne Capital Improvement Board (CIB) has set aside $3 million to be used for property acquisition for riverfront development.
The team leading the design work is Riverworks Design Group, comprised of Design Collaborative, Forum Studio, Hoch Associates, Engineering Resources, American Structurepoint, and One Lucky Guitar.
Design Collaborative, Hoch Associates, Engineering Resources and One Lucky Guitar are based in Fort Wayne. American Structurepoint has offices in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis. The Forum Studio has offices in Chicago and St. Louis.
Our time is now to make Fort Wayne’s riverfront a world-class development. We must be committed to moving our City forward to continue the positive momentum we’re experiencing. Our rivers can bring all of us together to demonstrate to current and future residents and employers that our community is a place to invest in. We’re positioned for a great future as a jobs and quality of place leader.
If you’d like to stay connected to the Riverfront Fort Wayne initiative, please visit www.RiverfrontFW.org.