Board of Park Commissioners approves barge, paving improvements
By Rob Lydick | WANE
The Fort Wayne Board of Park Commissioners met in Citizens Square Thursday morning for their monthly meeting, where they approved the purchase of a custom construction barge. The barge will be built specially for the St. Mary’s River to aid with the ongoing riverbank stabilization project. Additionally, it will be used to help clean up logs and debris in an effort to improve river safety for boaters and kayakers downtown.
$1.3 million worth of paving improvements were green-lit for city parks. That money will be used for things like the Foellinger Theatre parking lot, Foster Park pathway, Swinney Park west drive, and more. The Board also approved planned improvements for the Foster Park tennis courts, Memorial Park splash-pad, and Phase II of the Franklin Park project, which includes renovating an event pavilion.
At the meeting, it was also announced that the city officially closed on all of the riverfront property that will be used for future development. Per the terms of the agreement, the city won’t actually take possession of the property until August, when property owners have relocated. In the meantime, environmental testing can begin.
Plans for a project to remove coal tar contamination on the St. Mary’s River were also presented by representatives of NIPSCO. The representatives discussed the predecessor to NIPSCO previously operated a manufacturing gas plant at the intersection of Barr and Superior Streets in downtown Fort Wayne many years ago. They say that oily-tar residuals still remain on the property and have been deposited on the side of the St. Mary’s adjacent to The Deck. Their plans are to dredge about 2 feet of sediment on that side of the St. Mary’s beginning this fall, deposit that soil near the Old Fort to dry for a few days, then haul the soil away for disposal. They say this project will address the sheen and odor from coal tar residuals present in the river.