We can be justly proud of the new downtown office buildings and residential developments and other manifestations of Fort Wayne's progress. But nothing is more revealing of a city's true spirit than its parks.
A park – any park – can be a great leveler. Rich or poor, young or old, you don't need money to get in.
Bad things can happen anywhere, but a park tends to bring out our kinder and more civil selves. A park can offer a sensory-rich alternative to the virtual worlds most of us inhabit in our cars, in our schools and offices, and on our computers. A park is the outer world's overture to inner peace.
Promenade Park offers a range of experiences like no other in our region. Take a lunchtime walk along an elevated trail that veers over the waters of the St. Marys, paddle a kayak or canoe, take your kids to the playground, sip a beverage in the gardens or watch a concert on the steps that lead down to the water.
Some of those who come to Promenade Park as it opens this weekend will be thinking about Fort Wayne's past, the rich history that intertwined the three rivers and the city that grew up around them.
Some will be thinking of the future. The new park is a pinnacle of the effort to enhance the city's appeal to new residents and new businesses. Quality of life has long been a core value here; nothing says that more eloquently than this newest development.
But the festivities this weekend are not primarily for those who came before us, or for those who may join us in the future. The celebration is for you, the people who dreamed of this day and helped make it happen.