Historic Preservation Advocates Push Back Against Restructuring of Memorial Park

Apr 11, 2017

Indiana Tech announced last week its intent to build an estimated $6.4 million dollar athletic facility in Memorial Park on Fort Wayne’s east side. Some historic preservation advocates would like to stop the private university’s expansion.

Memorial Park includes a basketball court, swimming pool and playground, all of which the city says will remain open for public use if Indiana Tech builds its athletic complex.

Credit Courtesy/Indiana Tech

The current baseball diamond would be replaced by a newer softball facility. The director of the parks board, Al Moll, says will be available for reservation when Indiana Tech isn’t using it.

Moll says the new facilities, including a new athletic training building and a track, will allow for more activity in the park.

“Anytime you can improve the venue and make an investment into a park venue that I think is going to be able to provide some public play, it’s positive,” Moll said.

Memorial Park was built in 1918, and it has statues and sculptures in honor of veterans, which will probably have to be moved to make room for the athletic complex. Some historic preservation advocates are against building anything on the land, including Jill McDevitt, the director of ARCH, an organization dedicated to preserving Fort Wayne’s history.

“This plan significantly alters the bulk of the plan of the park,” she said. "It's not really respecting the plan of the park and its historic intent."

The proposal goes to the Park Board on Thursday, and McDevitt says ARCH will be there to oppose the measure.

Credit Courtesy/Indiana Tech