On August 14, 2002, Fort Wayne had the honor of receiving a visit from Governor Frank O’Bannon. The purpose for his stop in Fort Wayne was to announce a federal grant that will help extend a portion of the Rivergreenway. The grant, provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation and administered by the Indiana Department of Transportation, will provide $275,250 that will be used to construct a portion of the Rivergreenway that will connect Swinney Park to Rockhill Park.
“These projects make communities more livable for their residents and more attractive to visitors,” O’Bannon said. “They represent what government is all about –making people’s lives better.”
I couldn’t agree more. Anyone who has had the pleasure of going for a Sunday stroll or taking your children for a bike ride on the Rivergreenway knows what a great asset it is to our community. The added bonus of this particular project is that it will help provide safe access for neighbors to get from one city park to another allowing easier enjoyment of both parks. The money will be used to enhance our Rivergreenway and create a link from our downtown to our southwest neighborhoods and parks.
The concept of a walking trail to connect the nearby neighborhoods and parks was first proposed in 1910 and will finally come to fruition. The trail will run seven-eighths of a mile, from St. Mary River to Swinney Park, connecting downtown Fort Wayne to the new mall on West Jefferson.
Congress created the Transportation Enhancement Program, which is funding these projects, in 1991 to pay for alternative types of transportation projects, broadening the focus from highway construction to projects that enhance communities and quality of life by addressing open space, traffic congestion and air quality. The program requires creativity and innovation in planning, design and partnerships. Projects submitted for consideration must create or enhance alternative forms of transportation, scenic beautification or historic preservation.