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Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
Sam Collins of Cornerstone Landscaping clears a hole Thursday for one of 14 Bradford pear trees to be planted in Headwaters Park. The trees, at $750 each, will replace trees destroyed in last June’s windstorm.

Headwaters greening up after 2012’s windstorm


– Ten months after windstorms ripped apart trees across the city, the restoration of Headwaters Park downtown is nearly complete.

Fourteen Bradford pear trees are being planted in the northwest section of the park to replace those destroyed June 29, said Geoff Paddock, Headwaters Park Alliance executive director.

Though the estimated $32,000 cost of cleanup, tree trimming, debris removal and tree replacement was covered by donations, the Alliance is allowing residents to buy one of the trees being planted and place a commemorative marker. The money raised will help cover other restoration costs and build up a reserve to prepare for similar situations in the future, Paddock said.

Headwaters Park is a city park but operated by the nonprofit Alliance, which raises money for maintenance and improvements.

“We never forget that this park belongs to the city of Fort Wayne,” Paddock said as he leaned against a tree waiting to be planted. “It belongs to the taxpayers.”

The large, mature pear trees cost the Alliance more than $750 each, but Paddock said a donation of $500 is all that’s needed for those who want to sponsor one.

“This saves the taxpayers money,” he said.

Paddock said that during the last three years, the Alliance has raised about $80,000 for renovations and improvements in the popular park. In addition to the tree damage, flower beds and shrubbery had to be replaced.

“We thank many individuals for stepping up and contributing funds to help us with this project,” he said. “This is one of the advantages of having the Alliance manage the park – we have raised thousands of private dollars for a variety of projects.”

Those interested in the tree project or other donations to Headwaters Park can call 260-425-5745.

“As Memorial Day approaches, this would be a perfect time to purchase a tree for a loved one,” Paddock said. “This is a great way to recognize a relative or a friend.”