Improvements continue for city parks, city invests $3M

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Eighty-six parks, several golf courses, splash pads and swimming pools, a theatre and a conservatory – these are the assets the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department takes care of each year.

With the help of the City of Fort Wayne, more than 30 projects were started and completed in just the last year, and there is more funding available for park maintenance next year.

“The main thing we did this year was a lot of resurfacing of roads, pathways and paths through parks,” Parks Director Al Moll said.

The City of Fort Wayne invested about $2 million in the parks department in 2015.

“A lot of other things are just normal maintenance – you know, fixing roofs, fixing toilets… nothing real sexy,” Moll said, adding that improving safety is a priority. “It will take another half million plus to bring things up to speed, [there’s] nothing dangerous… but you want to continue to bring things up to grade. Our team does a great job of doing that, but it does take dollars.”

With the help of an additional $3 million from the city, the parks department will be able to improve safety and continue its projects in 2016.

Each year, the parks department assesses every one of its assets on a one-to-five scale. That scale is looked at and “anything rated a five, which would be a safety issue, would be taken care of,” Moll said.

In 2016, the parks department will work on various projects including improvements at the Botanical Conservatory, adding park benches and installing solar panels. The department has two larger projects in the works, though: developing its new 4-acre urban park at the former Franklin School, and planting thousands of trees in order to restore the tree canopy.

“We got hit this year significantly with the storm and then we lost trees to the Emerald Ash Boar, we’ll double what we plant next year – so we hope to plant 2,000 to 3,000 trees next year,” Moll said.

In December of 2014, construction crews began demolition on site of the former Franklin School on St. Mary’s Avenue. Moll said in the next month, the park board and City Council will have to approve bids on the project, which will include adding a splash pad and other pathways. The parks department hopes to have phase one completed by next spring.

The following list was provided by the parks department as an update on its projects:

Completed 2015 Projects:

  • Franke Park, Foellinger Theatre: Orchestra Pit and Cover Removal, New Front Seating Installed, Sound   Hanger Improvements, Rigging Improvements, New Lighting Installed, Parking Lot Repairs
  • Lafayette Park: Shelter Improvements, New Basketball Court Installed
  • Bob Arnold Northside Park: Asphalt RePaving
  • McMillen Park Community Center: Automatic Divider Curtain Installed in Multipurpose Room
  • Packard Park: Replaced Concrete Pad in Open-Air Pavilion, Installed Brick Patio
  • McMillen Park: Installed New Sidewalk and Patio in Front of Pool House, Replaced Pool Liners, Bollard Improvements to Reopen Back Driveway, Repaired Fire Damage to Men’s Restroom in Pavilion #1
  • Community Center: Second Floor Restroom Improvements
  • Foster Park West: Installed New Bleachers for North Soccer Fields
  • McMillen Park: Pavilion #1 Patio Paver Improvements
  • Shoaff Park: Tennis Court Improvements
  • Johnny Appleseed Park: Constructed New Two-Field Dog Park with Shelter
  • Swinney Park: Tennis Court Improvements
  • Salomon Farm: Barn Siding Improvements, Stone Drive Repaired
  • Lawton Park: Repaired Leaking Roof on Maintenance Building
  • Lions Park: Replaced Rotted Wooden Beams, Repaired Fireplace in Pavilion, Playground Improvements (started in 2014, completed in 2015)
  • Kreager Park: NEOS Safety Surface Improvements
  • Botanical Conservatory: Rebuilt Aging Wood Ramada Structure in Arid House
  • Hamilton Park: Replaced Fence on Diamond #2

Ongoing 2015 Projects:

  • Botanical Conservatory: Glass Replacement in Roof of Greenhouse Structure
  • Franke Park: Diehm Museaum Roof Improvement
  • Community Center: Installing New Parking Gate
  • Various Parks: Asphalt Resurfacing at Franke, Foster, Shoaff and Weisser Parks, New Bleacher Installation
  • Franklin Park: Designing Site and Splash Pad Project
  • Jennings Center: Constructing New Basketball Court
  • Franke Park: Installing New Stone Monument Sign at Entrance to Park
  • Freimann Square: Installing 14 New Park Benches
  • McMillen Park: Installing New Siding and Roof on Golf Maintenance Building
  • Shoaff Park: Installing Solar Lighting in Conklin Pavilion Parking Lot
  • McMillen Park Community Center: Installing Solar Panels on Roof to Provide Additional Electricity
  • Franklin Park: Phase One Construction

In addition to these projects, the parks department has committed $200,000 to Headwaters Park as part of its Plaza budget.

The parks department is hosting its next ‘Great Tree Canopy Comeback’ on Oct. 24. For more information, click here.

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