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Riverfront Phase II & III Design Concepts, Features Revealed

Riverfront Fort Wayne

Fort Wayne’s riverfront consulting team revealed designs for the next phases of the large-scale development project Thursday night.

With the opening of Promenade Park four months ago effectively completing the first of a three-phase project, developers with Dave Rubin Land Collective unveiled renderings and concepts for the second and third phases.

Phase II features public spaces on the north and south sides of the St. Marys River, from Promenade Park to the Martin Luther King Jr. Bridge and from the new park to the Ewing Street Bridge. They also presented Phase III public space concepts for the north and south sides of the St. Marys River between the bridges on Ewing and Van Buren Streets.

Credit Riverfront Fort Wayne

Designs for Phase II incorporate the levee and will also provide a variation of the canopy trail to an overlook deck on the 3rd Street Pump Station, a terraced lawn with amphitheater seating and more. The third phase will focus further on expanding the project, with more open recreational spaces for basketball, sledding and more.

Additional surrounding improvements include a focus on infrastructure around the development as well as continuing to protect homes from floodwaters.

Developers say construction on either phase could begin as soon as 12-18 months from now, pending approvals and acquisitions.

Phase II design highlights include:

  • Space for short-term boat, kayak and canoe docking;
  • A variation of the tree canopy trail in Promenade Park that connects to an overlook deck on the 3rd Street Pump Station;
  • A wetland path;
  • A terraced lawn with amphitheater seating; and
  • Space to build a future private restaurant and public restrooms.

Phase III would not be constructed until after completion of Phase II. Highlights of this phase include:

  • A wetland boardwalk through Guldlin and Bloomingdale parks;
  • A lookout tower that residents and visitors can climb;
  • A pedestrian bridge connecting the north and south sides of the St. Marys River;
  • An enhanced boat ramp with additional parking;
  • A relocated levee in Bloomingdale Park, which would allow for more storage of floodwater;
  • A lawn bowl that could be used for sledding in the winter;
  • A nature play area for children; and
  • Recreation areas including basketball courts.

Highlights of the private development concepts:

  • Build on current private development successes, such as the Superior Lofts, the Boutique Hotel, The Landing, the Premier Riverfront site, and The Lofts at Headwaters Park;
  • Concentrate development efforts around Promenade Park and move outward to have the greatest impact;
  • Focus new private development on publicly owned sites near the downtown riverfront;
  • Provide opportunities for a variety of residential options, including market rate, affordable, rental, and owner-occupied condos and townhomes.

Highlights of the zoning and land use recommendations:

  • Extend the Downtown Edge Zoning District to the Riverfront District in order to encourage mixed-use development and building densities that are similar to downtown Fort Wayne (more than 60 percent of the riverfront area is currently zoned to allow industrial uses including salvage yards, factories and warehouses);
  • Enhance design guidelines to promote sustainable and pedestrian-friendly streets, facilitate economic success and preserve access for all residents to the the rivers.

Highlights of infrastructure recommendations:

  • Provide more compensatory storage for floodwaters that will continue to protect existing homes and buildings while providing more opportunities where private development can occur. This includes moving the levee north in Bloomingdale Park to allow for more storage; and
  • Construct new roadways, where appropriate, to serve existing developed areas and new development areas.
Zach joined 89.1 WBOI as a reporter and local host for All Things Considered, and hosted Morning Edition for the past few years. In 2022, he was promoted to Content Director.
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