The first phase of Fort Wayne’s Riverfront is scheduled to open in the summer, and the City and project’s developers are seeking community input for the Promenade, as well as the upcoming second and third phases.
Dave Rubin Land Collective is the lead development team on the project. Rubin went through the overall vision of the project, at one point noting their desire to highlight the rivers as a core to Fort Wayne’s identity.
In order to do that, Rubin says making the rivers a point of pride for residents is one way of ensuring its sustainability.
“If we define a place as loved in the heart and the mind, then it will be cared for, and that’s incredibly important to its success," Rubin said. "No matter how beautiful something is, no matter how ecologically sensitive something is, if it is not loved by you, it will go away. And we don’t want it to go away; we want it to flourish and thrive.”
Rubin and Mayor Tom Henry spoke to the audience, which came to the Anthony Wayne Ballroom of the Grand Wayne Center in large numbers. Attendees then broke off into several stations, where they could share ideas for future phases with city employees.
Of course, everyone had their own ideas for their riverfront. Jain Young is a Fort Wayne resident. She’s a supporter of the project; she just wants to see more natural space.
“I’m interested in riverbank health; I think a good riparian buffer is important, and access, but I prefer soft-edge to hard-edge,” Young said.
Mike Makarewich lives in Auburn and serves on its parks board, but makes regular visits to Fort Wayne’s trails. He says he wants to see a similar project in Auburn, and is most excited for the development opportunities.
“More restaurants and activities where people can ride, exercise, boat, kayak or physically walk the boardwalk," said Makarewich. "Interactive ingredients that bring people to the area, so when it’s a nice day people are saying ‘Hey, I want to go to downtown.’”
The grand opening for the Riverfront Promenade is set for Friday, June 21.