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Update on Fort Wayne riverfront park, other downtown riverfront development

Roofing, mechanical and electrical work is underway on the Fort Wayne Park Foundation Pavilion in the new Promenade Park, which is being constructed downtown along the St. Marys River west of Harrison Street. (By Kevin Kilbane of News-Sentinel.com)
Construction crews are installing steel sheet piling along the north bank of the St. Marys River at Promenade Park. The piling will keep the river water out as workers build concrete docks on both the north and south banks of the river. (By Kevin Kilbane of News-Sentinel.com)

Work is progressing on Fort Wayne’s downtown riverfront park, and parks officials already have begun the effort to get design work going for the second and third phases of downtown riverfront development.

New Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department Director Steve McDaniel updated the board of park commissioners on the work during the park board meeting Thursday at Citizens Square.

• Roofing, mechanical and electrical work are underway at the Fort Wayne Park Foundation Pavilion, which will be the major anchor in Promenade Park. The park includes land on both the south and north banks of the St. Marys River between the Historic Wells Street Bridge and Harrison Street.

• Another crew has been busy installing steel sheet pilings along the north and south sides of the riverbank, McDaniel said. The pilings will keep out river water as construction crews build concrete docks on both north and south riverbanks.

All of the pilings have been installed on the south side of the river, and the crew has about 200 feet to go on the north bank, McDaniel said.

• Fourteen design firms submitted applications to be considered for the contract to design Phases II and III of the downtown riverfront project, McDaniel said. A committee of parks and city staff have narrowed the list to four, and the committee hopes to interview those firms yet this month.

The parks department hopes to have a single firm selected and under contract by June or July, McDaniel said.

Once the contract is approved, he said the design firm will have 12 to 14 months to create design plans. Phases II and III include the sections of the St. Marys River both east and west of the current Promenade Park site, roughly going east to Headwaters Park and west to the Van Buren Street bridge.

MORE ON PROMENADE PARK

The parks department anticipated some additional – and possibly unexpected – work may need to be done during construction of Promenade Park, and it built contingency funds into the project budget, McDaniel said.

Workers have encountered a couple of issues so far, and the park board approved a change order of $117,152 on Thursday.

The parks department was notified by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that a portion of the Promenade Park site had been a wetland, so the parks department must create a similarly sized wetland in a new location to replace what has been lost, McDaniel said.

The parks department had to pay for the design work for the new wetland site, and now it will have to seek bids for the construction work required to complete it, he said.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources’ Department of Historic Preservation and Archaeology also requested the parks department do an archaeological dig on the north bank of the river before continuing with work there, McDaniel said.

That section of the riverbank contains soils deposited there by the river, and the DNR staff wanted to make sure no archaeological artifacts had been washed up there and buried, he said.

A crew conducted an archaeological test dig 3 feet wide and 15 long, which was attended by two members of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, McDaniel said. The dig didn’t find any artifacts, so the parks department received the OK to continue construction.

But the state requires the parks department to pay to have an archaeologist on site whenever excavation work takes place, McDaniel said. The estimated cost for the archaeologist is $25,000.

OTHER BUSINESS

In other business, the park board:

• Received information and approved fees for Dragon Boat Races planned for 8 a.m.-4 p.m. June 23 downtown on the St. Marys River. Registration for the 21-person teams is $2,100 and $1,000 for a nonprofit organization team, with a $100 discount for registration through May 1. Registration deadline is June 1.

For more information or to create a team, contact the parks department’s Megan Butler at megan.butler@cityoffortwayne.org or 427-6248.

All events at the race site are free and open to the public.

• Approved a low bid of $159,900 by Wayne Asphalt to replace and repair 2,700 linear feet of the asphalt golf cart path at Foster Park Golf Course. The work, which likely will begin in August, McDaniel said.

The parks department will start with sections of the cart path near the golf course clubhouse, said Steve Schuhmacher, superintendent of grounds and improvements. The parks department eventually hopes to replace or repair the entire golf course cart path, which covers about 4 miles.

• Approved a contract extension with Mudrack Tree Service for $48,315 to remove 502 tree stumps on city right-of-way land. This work, which will be completed by January 2019, will remove all of the backlog of stumps from trees that have been cut down, said Derek Veit, superintendent of urban forestry.

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