A public hearing was held Thursday night at the Memorial Park pavilion about a proposed Indiana Tech athletic complex in that park. The building reached capacity at 160 people, and the majority of those present were against any changes to the park.
Veterans who were at the hearing hope to stop the Board of Park Commissioners from voting in favor of Indiana Tech’s expansion into the park. The school's proposal includes a new running track, training facility, and an upgrade to the park's softball field. It would also involve moving two memorials, and removing or transplanting trees that were planted in honor of veterans.
Fort Wayne resident Donita Mudd says she’s glad veterans were at the meeting, because she thinks the city often overlooks the Southeast Fort Wayne community.
“I really don’t believe it would have even been considered for Lakeside Park or Foster Park or Swinney Park, but because it’s Southeast Fort Wayne, it’s like you can do whatever you want to do over here,” Mudd said. “There’s no respect for history, for this being a veteran’s memorial, because it’s Southeast Fort Wayne.
But some Fort Wayne residents spoke out in favor of the proposal. Greg Perigo says the athletic complex will bring more people to the park and improve its safety.
“This Memorial Park memorializes no one if no one knows these memorials and monuments are here,” Perigo said. “So by allowing Indiana tech to do their good work and bring their investment here is going to create more awareness for what the veterans have done.”
The meeting was two hours long and ended before everyone had a chance to speak. Park Board President Rick Samek says there will be another public meeting, and a vote will likely take place in August.