Progress continues to be made on riverfront development efforts. The Riverfront Advisory Committee on Tuesday reviewed updated Riverfront Development designs and has unanimously recommended that the Park Board approve the Final Phase One Riverfront Development Designs. The Park Board will consider the recommendation during today’s 4 pm meeting at the Botanical Conservatory.
The following are design changes that have been incorporated since the schematic design public meeting in July:
· Tree Canopy Trail
o The structure of the Tree Canopy Trail has changed from a suspension system to below-boardwalk support. This more efficient approach inspired the design of the railing system which will be a heavy-duty mesh stretched between supporting posts.
o The path of the trail has been refined to pass between existing trees and to reduce the impact to wetlands.
· Children’s Play Area
o The Children’s Play Area is now more accessible and the playground equipment has been selected with children of all abilities in mind.
· River Access
o The inlet for kayakers, canoers, or paddleboarders is now equipped with a floating dock launch system to assist people with disabilities as well as those who aren’t seasoned explorers. The stepped access for manpowered craft still exists at this location as well as east of the seawall dock.
- Harrison Street Bridge
o The bridge will be converted from 3 lanes of vehicular traffic to two lanes of vehicles, with one lane dedicated to pedestrians. The pedestrian walkway will have benches and the existing look of the balustrade will be preserved.
· Entry Feature
o This will now be a commissioned work by a nationally recognized sculptor.
o In response to the desire for a potential concession and/or catering vendors, the floor plan has been updated. The concession space could potentially be useable even if the pavilion space is reserved for an event.
o Internal and external family restrooms have been added.
· Superior Street Gardens
o Once envisioned as a lawn panel, this now boasts seatwall planters, lush foliage, and shade trees to offer the opportunity for a quiet respite in the urban park.
o The area closer to the pavilion is now envisioned as a dining garden – a place to sit outside under the shade of the trees and picnic with your family or enjoy a snack from the pavilion.
“I’m encouraged by the outstanding design work for the first phase of riverfront development,” said Mayor Tom Henry. “Our rivers can be a catalyst to making Fort Wayne and northeast Indiana a point of destination for individuals, families, and businesses. The positive momentum and excitement we’re experiencing in our community will be enhanced by making investments along the riverfront.”
The first phase of riverfront development will be focused on the public spaces in a park setting and the projected construction investment will not exceed $20 million. Development would occur 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.
For the construction phase to begin, the Park Board is in the process of acquiring three properties along Superior and Harrison streets.
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.
Those interested in viewing the updated renderings may visit www.RiverfrontFW.org.