The City of Fort Wayne is taking public input on its riverfront development study. The study is a comprehensive look at the City’s rivers and surrounding land, and intended to guide future investment and development for the downtown riverfront. The city’s first public input meeting was held Thursday.
It was standing room only at the meeting. Many attendees wanted to know more about recreational and retail opportunities on the river.
Among them - small business owner Olivia Fabian. She’s concerned about the impact of riverfront development on her swimsuit company OFabz.
"Cleaning up the river would be awesome," Fabian says. "But even just beaches adjacent to the river so people would have a reason to put their swimsuit on and play beach volleyball, or just hang out in the sun."
Water quality and environmental concerns were a major theme voiced by the public. President of the design group SWA Kinder Baumgardner gave the presentation. He says Fort Wayne has already greatly improved its water quality, but it’s an issue bigger than just Indiana.
“We’re a little tiny place at the end of a big watershed," Baumgardner says. "How do we work with all three states who are pouring water through Fort Wayne to get those guys to think differently about how they maintain the edges of their rivers.”
The study, funded with money from Legacy Fort Wayne, will continue over the next year. SWA will present preliminary design options in July, and a final master plan in January 2015.