Indiana Tech today withdrew its proposal to build an athletic complex in Memorial Park. The $6.4 million athletic complex would have included a new running track, training facility, and an upgraded softball diamond. Indiana Tech officials said it would have been an investment in East Central Fort Wayne, but many groups opposed its location.
Veterans groups, historic preservation activists, and many community members who live close to Memorial Park opposed Indiana Tech’s expansion into the park because it would have meant moving two memorials and transplanting or removing trees. People who live close to the park were concerned about parking during athletic events and public access to the facilities.
Indiana Tech officials tried to alleviate these concerns by offering public access to the running track when not in use. The softball field would have been open to organized teams to reserve. The private university defended its decision to move the memorials by saying the sculptures would have to be relocated to a more prominent area.
Indiana Tech spokesman Brian Engelhart says school officials had hoped the community would support what they thought was an investment in Fort Wayne.
“We never wanted this to be a contentious thing, we really saw it as something that could benefit the wider community, our neighborhood, and our students,” Engelhart said.
Engelhart says Indiana Tech will start looking for another location to build its athletic complex.
In the original proposal, Indiana Tech would build the complex and lease the land back from Fort Wayne. Parks and Recreation Director Al Moll supported the idea, but it was met with concern from the Board of Park Commissioners, who would have needed to approve the plan.
More than 100 people attended a public hearing on May 4 to voice their opinions, and the majority was against building the athletic complex in Memorial Park.