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$17M in construction contracts for riverfront development headed to City Council

BY SARA SCHAEFER | @Sara_WANE - FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Construction contracts for the first phase of development of the St. Marys riverfront in downtown Fort Wayne will be presented to City Council for review in the coming days.

In a press conference on the Wells Street Bridge on Wednesday, Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry detailed 18 construction contracts for more than $17 million in work that will be presented to City Council. The contracts include demolition, landscaping, concrete work, electrical, playground equipment and more.

Henry said the upcoming construction phase is the latest example of the positive momentum the city is experiencing.

"Investing in our riverfront is an example of what makes Fort Wayne a point of destination," the mayor said. "As we prepare to enter the construction phase, I'm encouraged by the support and excitement for riverfront development. By working together, we're going to see continued momentum and investments as we move our City and region in the right direction."

The riverfront project will stretch from Wells to Harrison streets on both banks of the river, and butt against Headwaters Park. Plans call for a promenade, a tree canopy trail, a children's play area and amphitheater in a point-of-destination plan that will mesh nature, recreation, shopping, dining and entertainment.

Funding for the work comes from prior approvals of Legacy funds, Regional Cities money and private donations. City Council has approved $10 million in Legacy funding for the first phase of construction, and the Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority has approved $5,170,480 in Regional Cities funding. To date, private commitments from foundations, corporations and individuals total $4,809,000, the city said Wednesday.

On April 28, Mayor Henry and four council members called for an "adjustment" to the city's local income tax rate to raise $9.6 million a year for riverfront development and improvements to neighborhood sidewalks and alleys. That proposal has yet to be considered.

Riverfront construction will begin in July and is anticipated to take 18 months.

"We're looking forward to getting started on the construction work," said Parks Director Al Moll. "Our community and region have embraced this initiative and the possibilities that exist by developing our rivers. The financial support we've received from public and private entities helps ensure riverfront development will be a world-class experience for everyone involved."

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