Great news to report on the initiative to develop our riverfront! City Council recently approved a contract between the City of Fort Wayne and SWA Group for a Riverfront Development Study. This study will provide the first comprehensive look at Fort Wayne’s riverfront development possibilities, including what strategies can be employed to enhance our economy and quality of life.
I recently announced the names of citizens and staff who will guide the study. Ray Kusisto, Ortho NorthEast (ONE) and Deputy Mayor Karl Bandemer will serve as co-chairs of the Riverfront Advisory Committee.

Other committee members include: Nick Arnett, Creative Collective LLC; Dave Arnold, Ambassador Enterprises; Mark Becker, Greater Fort Wayne, Inc.; Ian Boyce, Dickmeyer Boyce Financial Management Inc.; Steve Brody, Brody Consulting LLC; Tim Hall, Hall’s Restaurants and Fort Wayne Outfitters; Patti Hays, Lutheran Health Network; Lindsay Hively, Kernel Coladas Gourmet Popcorn; Nancy Jordan, Lincoln Financial Group; Dawn Rosemond, Barnes & Thornburg, LLP; Rick Samek, Carson Boxberger, LLP; Tom Smith, Fort Wayne City Council; Wendy Stein, Stein Ad Promos, LLC; Ron Turpin, Lincoln Financial Group; John Urbahns, City of Fort Wayne Community Development; Irene Walters, IPFW; and Dan Wire, Tri-State Watershed Alliance.

The first meeting of the Advisory Committee will be December 5. At that time, SWA – an urban planning, design and landscape architecture firm working worldwide from seven locations — will visit Fort Wayne and begin the 12- to 18-month process of examining data, seeking public input and exploring development possibilities.

The Riverfront Development Study is intended to provide the road map for a world-class investment. Areas of focus will include land use; engineering and infrastructure investment; environmental and ecological issues; watershed and flooding issues; connectivity to trails, downtown and nearby neighborhoods; access to the river; retail; entertainment; and housing.

Throughout the study process, the public will have an important role. We will be actively seeking your input on concepts for creating a viable and exciting riverfront action plan. Please feel free to provide your thoughts, ideas and suggestions, as the team works to come up with this transformational plan!

On another note, congratulations to the Foster Park Neighborhood, which was recently named to the National Register of Historic Places, the nation’s official list of properties considered worthy of preservation! This is the fifth Fort Wayne property or neighborhood to receive the prestigious designation this year.

The nomination – a collaboration of Foster Park residents and City’s and State’s Historic Preservation offices – highlighted Foster Park as an excellent example of suburban subdivision design during the early 20th century, with a variety of architectural styles popular in the 1920s-1950s. The architecture ranges from craftsman bungalow and two-story colonial revival to Tudor cottage and sleek post-WWII contemporary homes.

The Foster Park Neighborhood is a valuable community asset. The historic designation serves as recognition of the beauty and importance of the neighborhood and is a great source of pride for residents and the entire City.

In addition to the Foster Park Neighborhood, four other properties or neighborhoods were also listed on the National Register in 2013. They include the Lafayette Place Neighborhood; the Ninde-Mead-Farnsworth House at 734 E. State Blvd.; the John H. and Mary Abercrombie House at 3130 Parnell Ave.; and the Wildwood Park Neighborhood.

With the holiday season upon us, I wish you and your families a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!