Women are Building Community On Our Riverfront
Megan Butler, the Program and Events Manager for Riverfront Fort Wayne, joins host Stephanie Gottesman to discuss the development of Promenade Park and the Hello, New Park event last August.
It was hard to leave the house last summer without seeing signs for the Hello, New Park event. The three-day celebration welcomed Allen County residents to Promenade Park, and the new riverfront attraction has quickly become a favorite gathering place. Megan Butler played a central role in introducing the community to their new park – she likes to say that the event was her baby. And rightfully so. Butler spent more than a year planning the event, and two years before that researching ideas for a weekend that was not just groundbreaking for our region, but completely unique and inspired by events from across the globe.
In the first episode of Season 2 of Women Are: Fort Wayne, Butler talks a bit about how our culture has seen a decrease in social capital, a concept discussed in the book Bowling Alone by Robert D. Putnam. shares how she chose to study politics because she wanted to make the most positive impact possible on her community. She has faced many challenges on her path to success, including a hard childhood and a devastating divorce that left her struggling to feed herself and her two boys. Her best advice to women struggling through their own divorces is to find something that is completely their own. For Butler, she focused on learning skills that nobody could ever take away from her – skills she’s now used to make a huge impact on the city she lives, works, and plays in.
Butler shares a deep look into what it took to create the Hello, New Park event, some of the incredible inspirations she drew from, and some of the challenges she faced. She shares stories of how the community came together to pull off an ambitious weekend with three days of programming. Approximately 35,000 people attended, and the community response was staggeringly positive. She described the weekend as the community’s first date with their new park, and wanted to touch people’s hearts and set the precedent for the next 10-20 years of the riverfront.
Toward the end of the episode, Butler shares some of what’s coming up for Phases 2 and 3 of the Riverfront Development project, and what her role is now that the park is open. She also shared some of the programs that are coming up at Promenade Park now that its open.
Our featured song this episode is Moon Dance by Elle/The Remnant. This all-female group has been making music together for more than 8 years. They started out as 3 friends and grew to 6 women as their songwriting capabilities evolved. All of their songs are original lyrics and music, and they have a deep love for unique storytelling. They believe that music should nourish, inspire and share stories worth telling. You can find them on Spotify, and can find upcoming shows on their Facebook.
Women Are: Fort Wayne is a production of Monstrous Regiment Media and distributed by WBOI in Fort Wayne. Our show is sponsored by the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne and Silverbirch Entertainment. This episode was written and produced by Stephanie Gottesman and Traci Henning-Kolberg, and edited by Adam Blackburn. Our episodes are recorded at Silverbirch Studio, with an extra thank you to sound engineer Steve Tyler and assistant engineer, Harrison Tyler.
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