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The Journal Gazette

  • FILE: Parks and Recreation Director Steve McDaniel stands in front of the Park Foundation Pavilion during a guided media tour of Promenade Park along the Riverfront development.

Friday, March 15, 2019 1:00 am

Riverfront getting down and dirty

Parks board shown progress via drone video

ROSA SALTER RODRIGUEZ | The Journal Gazette

Members of the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department board Thursday toured the progress being made on the city's riverfront park project – and they didn't even have to get their feet wet.

It was all because of a new aerial video taken this week by a drone.

Steve Schuhmacher, deputy parks director, presented the drone footage. The future Promenade Park “is a big muddy mess right now,” he said, but workers are continuing to ready the site for an opening celebration June 21-23.

Part of the park is now flooded, but that will be corrected by future construction, Schuhmacher said. As the ground thaws, workers will be able to do more miscellaneous site preparation work, he added.

Schuhmacher said concrete is being poured in several areas, and landscape pavers along Harrison and Superior streets are being installed.

The Sweetwater band shell structure is up, and work is being completed in the stage area. Planking has gone down for the tree canopy trail, while the seating wall, dock walls and the water rill attraction are all nearly complete.

With the exterior of the Park Foundation pavilion finished, work has moved to the interior, including polishing floors and outfitting it for the presence of Trubble Brewing, which has been chosen as the concession operator, Schuhmacher said.

Two other areas where work is able to progress are the Harrison Street bridge and electrical site work for new light poles along Harrison, he said.

“Last month I was a little nervous, because the ground was still frozen,” Schuhmacher said. “But now we're plugging away, making up ground.”

He said the opening of the park will include a celebration of the arts and culture June 21, kayak races and a lighted flotilla parade June 22 and nature activities featuring a butterfly release June 23.

The drone video can be viewed online at youtu.be/xzrYOMEA8S8.

In other business, the board was told the city's public golf courses will open next week. Foster Park's course will open Monday, Shoaff Park's on Tuesday and McMillen's on Wednesday.

This year, the city's courses will be under the supervision of a new manager of golf operations. The board was introduced to Chris Jones, a PGA Class A member and a member of the Club Managers Association of America.

Jones said he is a native of Bloomington who had been working in the golf industry in the western United States for the last 10 years. He is a graduate of the Golf Academy of Arizona with an associate degree in golf management. He last was a golf pro and general manager at Lancaster Country Club in Ohio.

Jones started work March 4. He said he was looking forward to “streamlining projects and growing where the need is” and called Fort Wayne “a great, growing city.”

The board also learned:

• Work will soon start on a floating boat dock next to the Department of Natural Resources dock in Guldlin Park along Sherman Boulevard. At 48 feet, the dock will be similar to the one in Headwaters Park.

• Work on the glass-lined connector between Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory and Embassy Theatre will start this spring and should be finished by October. A cost of $556,540, plus additional money for underground work, was approved.

• Paving projects in several parks were approved, with one highlight a 3/4-mile walking path in Memorial Park. Another project will pave a gravel area at Salomon Farm Park to allow easier access to a pavilion by event operators and relocating a walking path farther away from Dupont Road.

rsalter@jg.net