Riverfront park work progressing, preparing for Phase II in downtown Fort Wayne

An excavator with an extended arm backfills stone Thursday afternoon at the site of the riverfront dock being built on the south side of the St. Marys River at the new Promenade Park. (By Kevin Kilbane of News-Sentinel.com)
Though trees and brush obscure the view, the new Fort Wayne Park Foundation Pavilion is at least 50 percent completed as work progresses at Promenade Park along the St. Marys River in downtown Fort Wayne. (By Kevin Kilbane of News-Sentinel.com)
Work continues on both the north and south banks of the St. Marys River for the new Promenade Park in downtown Fort Wayne. The park is scheduled to open in summer 2019. (By Kevin Kilbane of News-Sentinel.com)
Pavilion No. 3 in Foster Park, now dilapidated, is in for a big makeover. (News-Sentinel.com file photo)

The pavilion in the new riverfront Promenade Park is at least 50 percent completed, dock foundations are going in and work remains on schedule for opening in summer 2019, Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department Director Steve McDaniel said today.

That report was one of several the parks department’s board of park commissioners heard during their regular monthly meeting this morning at Citizens Square.

The department is building Promenade Park on the north and south banks of the St. Marys River between the Historic Wells Street Bridge and Harrison Street.

McDaniel said construction crews are ready to begin installing the limestone on the back and side walls of the Fort Wayne Park Foundation Pavilion. The front of the pavilion will offer a floor-to-ceiling view of the river.

Crews are pouring the foundation for the concrete dock on the north bank of the St. Marys River, McDaniel said. They have poured the water-side wall of the concrete dock on the south side of the river. They also have poured some of the pylons that will support the Tree Canopy Trail, a short, elevated walkway that will wind along the river among the trees.

The parks department already is working on planning for Phase II of downtown riverfront development, McDaniel said. That will include some public space along the riverbanks.

From Promenade Park, Phase II work will extend riverfront development west from the Historic Wells Street Bridge to the Ewing Street Bridge and east from Harrison Street to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Bridge at Clinton Street.

In other business, the park board:

• Learned the parks department is applying for a $400,000 Land and Water Conservation Fund grant from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Outdoor Recreation.

If received, the money would be paired with parks department funds and a donation from the local nonprofit group Friends of the Parks of Allen County to make $700,000 to $800,000 in improvements at Foster Park on the city’s south side, McDaniel said after the meeting.

The parks department would like to restore the historic-but-deteriorating Pavilion No. 3 along the St. Marys River on the west side of Foster Park, McDaniel said. The project also would involve building paths to connect the pavilion to the Rivergreenway and to the soccer fields across the river to the west, as well as opening up the riverbank so people at the pavilion have a view of the soccer fields.

Many families use the soccer fields, especially on weekends, and restoring the pavilion and providing a view of the soccer fields would enhance their options for picnicking or enjoying their time at the park, he said.

• Approved paying $202,840 to Shade Trees Unlimited of Columbia City to plant 1,000 trees in city parks, along city streets and in the parade strips of residents who sign up for the citizens match tree-planting program.

The trees would include 34 different species to diversify the city’s urban forest, said Derek Veit, the parks department’s superintendent of urban forestry. The trees will be planted from October through December.

• Approved adding a concert by the Celtic band Gaelic Storm at 8 p.m. Sept. 5 at Foellinger Outdoor Theatre in Franke Park. Tickets are $24 per person and go on sale Aug. 10 through the parks department office, 705 E. State Blvd., or online at the Foellinger theater website or via Etix here.

The band’s music ranges from traditional Irish and Scottish music to original Celtic and Celtic-rock tunes, parks department documents said. Their most recent album, “Go Climb a Tree,” was released in July 2017.

The group, which formed in Santa Monica, Calif., also is known for being the band playing in steerage in the movie “Titanic.”

• Learned the Fort Wayne Dragon Boat Races, which had to be postponed in June because of high water in the St. Marys River, can’t be rescheduled this year due to scheduling conflicts and permitting restrictions. All teams and sponsors were offered a full credit toward next year’s races.

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