Fort Wayne’s riverfront park work progressing well, moving into additional projects

This illustration shows a conceptual drawing of Promenade Park, the Phase I of Fort Wayne's downtown riverfront development efforts. The park will be built on both sides of the St. Marys River, with main portion of the park, right, on the south side of the river. (News-Sentinel.com archived courtesy illustration)

Riverfront park construction is progressing well and ready to expand into new phases, the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department’s board of park commissioners learned during their meeting Thursday in Citizens Square.

They also approved paving and futsal projects in other parks.

Steve McDaniel, the parks department’s deputy director of asset management, provided the following updates on construction of Promenade Park, which is being built on the north and south banks of the St. Marys River between the Historic Wells Street Bridge and Harrison Street. The park is the first phase of city riverfront development efforts:

• Construction workers have about another week of steel beam installation to complete on the Fort Wayne Park Foundation Pavilion in the south side of the park. They then will start putting on the roof and constructing interior walls.

• The parks department has always planned to allow rental of the pavilion, but the department now will be exploring additional revenue-generation opportunities through concession operations.

• The 500-ton, historic, red brick building that once stood on the park site has been moved, allowing the space it once occupied to become a staging area for construction of docks on the north and south banks of the river and the foundations for the Tree Canopy Trail on the north bank.

This construction will require installing steel piling sheets along the river’s edge on both banks so the bank can be excavated behind them. Pilings for the docks will have to go down 25 feet into the ground. The work is expected to take about five months.

• Construction also will start this spring on the foundation for the band shell on the south side of Promenade Park. Work on the foundation should be completed by late spring or early summer.

Paul Spoelhof, a senior planner with the city’s Community Development Department, also updated park board members on the city’s request for a consultant to help create and implement a master plan for public and private development downtown along the St. Marys River.

OTHER BUSINESS

The park board also:

• Approved a low bid of $35,546 from Leslie Coatings of Indianapolis to convert the two tennis courts at Packard Park to futsal courts. Futsal is played like soccer, but in a contained space the size of a tennis court.

These will be the parks department’s first futsal courts. The Indiana Soccer and Indiana Futsal groups are contributing to the project.

• Approved a low bid of $858,600 from Wayne Asphalt of Fort Wayne for paving work in Memorial Park, Reservoir Park and Salomon Farm Park. The work in Memorial Park includes building a new entry drive. Work at Reservoir and Salomon Farm parks includes constructing new parking lots.

• Approved the low bid of $28,685 from Countryside Play Structures of Parker City, near Winchester, to remove the existing rubber playground surface at Justin Study Park at Covington and Brooklyn avenues and replace it with wood playground surface material.

• Elected new officers for the coming year: Richard Samek was re-elected president, and Dr. Pamela Kelly was re-elected vice president. Parks Director Al Moll, who announced he will retire March 30, was elected board secretary.

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