Fort Wayne has some grand plans for riverfront development. The City says the first step is to work on riparian buffers – specific areas of plants and soil along the river banks. This land, along with other rocky areas that separate the city from the water, create levees.

But not a lot is known about how to comprehensively improve the levees and environment along the rivers - yet.

Virginia Alvino / WBOI News

The banks along Fort Wayne’s rivers serve multiple purposes. Vegetation controls erosion, and helps filter water. Other impermeable areas help with runoff, and  control flooding. We continue our series "The Three Rivers" with an  explainer on an important, but often overlooked feature: riparian buffers.  

Virginia Alvino / WBOI News

After years of simply being part of the landscape for many residents, Fort Wayne’s rivers are getting a lot of attention.

These days, there are new plans for restoration and riverfront development.

Today WBOI begins our series, “The Three Rivers.”

We’ll explore issues of Fort Wayne’s rivers and riverfronts one little piece at a time, reporting on how our relationship with them is changing, and what’s staying the same.

SWA/City of Fort Wayne

On Wednesday, a consulting group for the City of Fort Wayne unveiled the first part of its plan to develop the city’s riverfronts.

It’s the latest step in a long process that’s involved city funding, public meetings, and some long wish lists about what exactly we should do with our shorelines in Fort Wayne.

WBOI’s Virginia Alvino has been following the development planning. She sat down with Sean Bueter go discuss the latest. 


Kelly Lynch / Contest Entry

After many years of hiding in plain sight, Fort Wayne's riverfronts are enjoying a city-wide buzz.

If you've never been down to the rivers, there's a timely incentive being offered to get out there to take a look...and maybe a photograph.

The City of Fort Wayne began studying what might be done with riverfront development last winter, seeing an untapped resource for recreation and economic development.

As their research continues, the city is teaming with Artlink for an online photo contest and installation project called "We Love Our Rivers".

Riverfront Fort Wayne

Plans to redesign Fort Wayne’s riverfront have taken another step toward becoming a reality. Consultant SWA Group unveiled their latest design at public meetings this week.

SWA Group has been attempting a comprehensive look at enhancing the city’s riverfront since November 2013, and has conducted several surveys and community feedback sessions on possible designs.

The latest plan focuses on nature, recreation, and building a riverfront promenade. Rooftop terraces and pedestrian bridges would connect areas of the promenade and highlight the confluence of the 3 rivers.

City of Fort Wayne

The City of Fort Wayne asked and its residents answered – nearly 2,600 people responded to a survey about what they’d like to see in the future of downtown riverfront development.  

Recreational uses, both on and next to the river, had the most positive responses from the survey – followed by natural habitats and simply interesting places to sit. Mixed use development was close behind. 

People weren’t as interested in housing and winter activities on the river, however. 

  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.