December 27, 2023 - It was quite the year in Fort Wayne in 2023.
The past 12 months saw a lot of positive change in our city, or as Mayor Tom Henry called it “a year of transformation.” From starting and completing several major developments projects to energizing the efforts of improving the quality of life in Southeast Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne citizens can be proud of the milestones and accomplishments that we experienced in 2023.
In his latest podcast episode, Mayor Henry highlighted several of the projects, programs, and initiatives that moved Fort Wayne forward in 2023. You can listen to the episode here.
Before welcoming in 2024, let's take one final look back on the year that was.
Roosevelt Reserves/Village Premier
Earlier this year, ground was broken on two new housing projects in Southeast Fort Wayne: Roosevelt Reserves and Village Premier.
Located at Tillman and Hessen Cassel, Roosevelt Reserves is the largest market rate, single-family housing development on the city’s southeast side in nearly 50 years. The developer plans to invest $40 million on the project over the next four years. When completed, it will fearture over 130 new homes.
Village Premier is a major mixed-used development that will soon bring over 200 units of affordable housing to Southeast Fort Wayne. Located near the intersection of South Anthony and McKinnie Avenue, the project will also inclucde childcare, a health clinic, and commercial space.
Neighborhoods Improvement Grants
On April 25, the City of Fort Wayne’s Neighborhood Planning and Activation Workgroup announced that a record 47 neighborhood improvement grant projects were awarded, totaling more than $200,000.
The program is designed to support neighborhood beautification efforts and strengthen neighborhood involvement. These projects range from new landscaping in common areas to replacing neighborhood signage. For example, the Mystic Woods neighborhood was selected to improve its neighborhood gateway with new landscaping, while the Westchester Glens neighborhood will use funds to replace trees lost from the storm event we experienced in 2022.
Pillars of Hope and Justice
On June 5, our city welcomed Martin Luther King III to Fort Wayne to dedicate the new Pillars of Hope and Justice public art monument. The monument commemorates the June 5, 1963, visit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Fort Wayne, during which he gave a speech sharing his vision for nonviolent resistance.
The beautiful and inspiring monument is located at the northwest corner of West Main and Ewing streets in downtown Fort Wayne.
Riverfront Park Public Space Phase IIa
On June 27, a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony were held for The Riverfront at Promenade Park and the completion of Riverfront Park Public Space Phase IIa.
Since the opening of Promenade Park in 2019, the City of Fort Wayne has worked closely with Indianapolis-based development firm Barrett & Stokely on The Riverfront at Promenade Park private investment. The six-story, mixed-use building includes more than 200 apartments, seven town homes, and a 900-space parking garage. There is approximately 30,000 square feet of office space now occupied by anchor tenant Swiss Re and nearly 15,000 square feet of retail space. The total project investment is $88.7 million.
Riverfront Phase IIa is designed primarily as a connection between Promenade Park and Headwaters Park, filling in a missing piece of park space and providing a vital connection between what will now be nearly one acre of public park space on the south side of the St Marys River. The Phase IIa investment was approximately $2.6 million.
McKinnie Commons Park
On June 28, Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation and the City of Fort Wayne’s Community Development Division officially opened the new McKinnie Commons Park in Southeast Fort Wayne.
The new park features a bandshell for entertainment, space for food trucks and pop-up vendors, outdoor dining areas, bike racks, large swings, and many other amenities.
Lifetime Sports Academy
On July 21, Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation celebrated 25 years of the Lifetime Sports Academy. The celebration was held at McMillen Park. Since its inception, over 31,000 youth have participated in the program that focuses on developing skills in athletic activities that many may never have had the chance to try, such as golf, tennis, and swimming.
The program has been and continues to be a massive success in our community.
Fort Wayne Veterans Memorial Bridge
On September 17, the City of Fort Wayne held a ceremony to dedicate the new Fort Wayne Veterans Memorial Bridge. The ceremony welcomed hundreds of local veterans, community and state officials, and residents downtown to rename the bridge in honor of our local veterans.
The total investment of the bridge was $5.3 million, with 66% of the funding coming from federal and state resources, while the remaining 34% came from the City. The bridge greets nearly 23,500 vehicles every day, and is now an attraction for motorists passing through our city.
Pontiac Street Market
On November 6, the Pontiac Street Market opened to residents in the Renaissance Pointe neighborhood. The Pontiac Street Market provides healthy, affordable food options in an area that’s currently defined as a food desert. The grocery store comes after being identified as a vital need through several community Southeast Strategy Update meetings.
Parkview Health stepped up and served as a tremendous community partner to bring this project to life.
Fort Wayne Fire Department Station 14
On November 14, the Fort Wayne Fire Department opened the new fire station 14 located on Reed Road and E. State Blvd.
Fire Station 14 was relocated from Reed Road, across from Snider High School. The new station provides easier access to major roadways and much needed space for firefighters, increasing their ability to provide lifesaving service to City residents.
The $4 million investment features two full bays and a one-half bay. It has sleeping quarters to accommodate the firefighters’ 24-hour shifts, a large dining room and kitchen, and a workout room.
On December 12, Fort Wayne Public Works celebrated the end of construction season which saw over $40 million in neighborhood infrastructure improvements throughout our city. Some highlights from the improvements were:
-Over 40 miles of asphalt resurfacing
-3 bridge rehabilitation/replacement projects
-7 neighborhood street rehabilitation projects
-7.2 miles of chip and seal to asphalt conversions
-3 trail projects
Since 2014, the City has invested more than $297 million in neighborhood infrastructure enhancements and even more improvements are planned for 2024.