City to hold public meeting for Memorial Park makeover

Memorial Park

FORT WAYNE, Ind (WANE)- The public will have a chance to weigh in on the city’s proposed changes to Memorial Park. Fort Wayne’s board of Park Commissioners will hold a public meeting Thursday, May 4 to review proposals for Indiana Tech’s plan to create an athletic complex inside the park.

It was built as a memorial to Fort Wayne natives who died during World War I nearly 100 years ago. Indiana Tech wants to build a new track and field facility, a softball stadium, athletic training and office facility. All existing facilities at the park will stay but some memorials will be moved to make way for new additions.

The group “Friends of the Parks” wants the city to reconsider plans.

“They may not understand what’s at risk of being lost here,” said Tom Cain, a Friend of the Parks Board Member. “We don’t know what kind of landscape would be left out of the remnants of the park after the parking lot and athletic building are constructed.”

The project will cost an estimated $6 million. The university will provide the funding but the city will also be able to use the park. Construction will begin in early June.

“I happen to think and my staff happens to think that it’s a move in the right direction,” said Mayor Tom Henry.

City leaders said the overall response to the plan has been positive.

“We’ve actually had more comments in support [of the project],” said Al Moll, Director of Fort Wayne Parks. “That communication will be formulated and submitted to the park board.”

Cain just wants to make sure people understand what they’re losing.

“The park will be a very different animal from what it currently is,” said Cain. “And very different from what was envisioned when it was designed in 1918 as a place of refuge for people in the urban community.”

The meeting will be held May 4 at 6:30 p.m. at the Memorial Park Pavilion.