April 24, 2023 - Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation gathered with Mayor Tom Henry, Friends of the Parks of Allen County and South West Area Partnership at Pavilion 3 in Foster Park to celebrate the success of a multi-year effort to partner, plan and complete an accurate restoration of the historic picnic shelter and the surrounding Oak Grove recreational site. This public-private partnership brings new life and opportunity for reengagement with a little-known section of Foster Park.

The rustic stone and timber building was constructed in the park in 1930. The present-day restoration preserves the unique characteristics of the structure that includes limestone, chamfered white oak wood beams and a wood shake roof.

The location is situated in a peaceful oak grove overlooking the St. Marys river. Recreational access to the Foster Park walking loop on the east as well as to the Poka-Bache Connecter (completed in 2018) on the west is nearby for pedestrians and cyclists. The site has also been cleared of invasive species, undergrowth and select trees to allow a vista view of the St. Marys River.

“Our organization has a long-standing interest in Foster Park,” said Ed Welling, former President of Friends of the Parks of Allen County, “we especially look forward to the improved links to the Fort Wayne trails system and to the Waynedale neighborhoods to the west.”

The Chair of Southwest Area Partnership, Denny Coverstone remarks, “The efforts by Southwest Area Partnership have been instrumental toward reviving this historic building to full use. Neighbors can once again enjoy the rustic stone whether renting or passing by. The view of the river through the treasured trees is stunning! The wooded surroundings embrace Pavilion 3 and provide a perfect setting for creating memorable events.”

Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Director Steve McDaniel observes “Partnerships with private organizations like Friends of the Parks of Allen County and South West Area Partnership are key to many of the successful projects we are able to complete for Fort Wayne citizens. We are incredibly grateful to them for their support in getting this project off the ground. We’re excited to see the improvements we can bring to Foster Park as a result of this collaboration.”

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