Last summer, the city of Fort Wayne broke ground on the first phase of riverfront development. One year later, construction on the $17.1-million project is in full swing and programming is gaining momentum.
Promenade Park will create public spaces in a park setting. Development is occurring on the south and north sides of the St. Marys River between Harrison Street and the historic Wells Street Bridge. To keep up with construction updates, learn about riverfront programming and find out how you can get involved, visit the Riverfront Fort Wayne website at www.riverfrontfw.org.
1. Promenade Park is on schedule to open next summer
Promenade Park is about one third complete, said Sarah Nichter, information and development manager for Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation. “We anticipate opening the park next summer, but everything depends on weather,” she said.
The Park Foundation Compass Pavilion’s structure is in place and passersby will notice the outline of the dramatic view it will have of the river, Nichter said. Soon, the construction company will add limestone to three walls while the north side will be mostly glass.
Curious what’s been going on behind the fences? Hagerman Group, the project’s construction manager, has documented the progress with incredible time-lapse footage. Check it out at //bit.ly/2JP1rND.
2. Riverfront Fort Wayne scheduled more than 200 summer events
Riverfront scheduled more than 200 events between June and September, said Megan Butler, program and events manager for Riverfront. Programming usually falls into one of three categories: recreation, nature and art and culture. “We try to provide opportunities for people to interact with the rivers no matter what their interest area is,” she said.
The programming is offered at a variety of price points so that cost isn’t a barrier for people who want to participate, Butler said. Regularly scheduled events include riverfront boat tours, paddle socials and educational programming including free monthly birdwatching and stargazing.
To learn more about programming, visit //riverfrontfw.org/calendar/ or follow Riverfront Fort Wayne on social media.
3. Riverfront development will increase river access
“People can look forward to having access to the river, along it and in it for boating,” Nichter said. Both docks will be poured so that they each have different heights, making it easier for people loading/off loading from kayaks versus pontoons that need different accessibilities.
4. The project is inclusive of people of all abilities
The AWS Foundation and Turnstone played an important role in planning the park to make it a place people of all abilities could enjoy, Nichter said. In addition to considering individuals with physical and cognitive disabilities, individuals with visual impairment and Parkinson’s disease were consulted to help with design and special needs.
5. Riverfront brings people together year round
River recreation is limited in northeast Indiana’s winter months, but programming continues at the Riverfront year round. This year, Riverfront hosted its second annual Winter Cozy, an event based on the Danish concept of hygge. “It’s this idea of being cozy in terrible winter weather,” Butler said.
Winter Cozy attendance doubled this year, she said. People gathered in a heated tent for drinks, food, live music and games. Butler set up communal tables to encourage strangers to talk to one another. “20 minutes into the event, I looked around and did a quick walk through and people were talking to the strangers next to them, dancing with them, playing cards, chit chatting,” she said.