Headwaters Junction plans shift to new location, city considers taking over riverfront railroad right-of-way

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Plans for Headwaters Junction, the long-discussed railroad attraction and entertainment complex, continue to develop. A new location has been eyed for the project.

On Monday, the city’s Redevelopment Commission gave its approval of acquiring a purchase agreement of a railroad right-of-way along the St. Marys riverfront. The people behind Headwaters Junction originally agreed to buy the 7.5 acre railroad path from Norfolk Southern in an effort to see the attraction rise at or near the North River property.

The resolution was passed to City Council, whose members will have to approve using Riverfront property acquisition funds to pay for the $520,000 for the land along the river stretching from Bloomingdale Park to Clinton Street. The Redevelopment Commission approved reimbursing Headwaters Junction $127,000 for an earnest payment and due diligence done during the purchase of the land.

“We talked through the plans and future of the riverfront,” Redevelopment Director Nancy Townsend told the commission about her conversations with the railroad preservation group. “Headwaters Junction still has plans and will still occur.”

While Monday’s vote likely means the end of the project’s riverfront plans, WANE 15 has learned a new location in the downtown area has been discussed between Headwaters Junction and city leaders. The specific location has not yet been publicly announced.

“There’s still a lot of work to do, but we’re not doing it alone,” Headwaters Junction Executive Director Kelly Lynch said.

The railroad group released a statement after Monday’s vote.

“As we have from the beginning, we are proud to partner with the City as they continue their efforts
to make Fort Wayne a world-class place to live, work and play,” The statement reads. “We believe this agreement with the City is the right step for Fort Wayne and its ongoing efforts to transform our riverfront into an amazing destination for residents and visitors alike. At the same time, we are excited about what the future holds for Headwaters Junction. While its concept as a recreated rail yard, roundhouse and tourist railroad is rooted in our history, its vision looks confidently to the future.”

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