FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A proposed party barge is continuing to be debated by the Fort Wayne City Council.
The proposed project will be orchestrated by River City Ventures, LLC, where they plan to construct a 4,400-sqaure-foot restaurant, a boathouse and a dock along the St. Joseph River, where they plan to have pontoon boats for people to ride on.
The restaurant will be located between Parnell Avenue and Spy Run Extended, which is near Johnny Appleseed Park and Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.
Some residents in the neighborhood have expressed concerns about the project arguing it will negatively impact the environment around the river and the Rivergreenway trail.
One resident, Peg Maginn, said she’s concerned about how the flood plain and Rivergreenway will be impacted by the project.
“I think it’s geared towards business as usual,” Maginn said. “We have some serious environmental problems we need to deal with.”
She believes there is no justification to giving up the Rivergreenway and flood plain for party boats.
“This is the main part of this to get people onto party boats that involve loud music and people drinking alcohol, which is being encouraged” she said. “It would cost $40 a piece, that isn’t even feasible for most citizens in Fort Wayne. We don’t even know what we’re getting in return, but he’s (Joe Tippmann) getting a good deal by making a lot of money.
Tom Trent, a lawyer representing River City Ventures, countered saying the project will not extend to the Rivergreenway and that it will be located south of it.
“The Rivergreenway area is owned by the city. We do not plan to touch that because we don’t own it,” Trent added. “Information that has been circulated about us impacting the greenway is false.”
The restaurant and boathouse will be located on the most northern point of the land River City owns and he said it will be far removed from having any impact on the river or flood plain.
“They have no intent or ability to change the layout of the existing stretch of the greenway, Tippmann does not plan to touch or destroy it,” he said.
Trent believes Joe Tippmann is an outstanding businessman and is questioning why some residents are suddenly outraged about them putting in new pontoon boats when other parts of the river contain them as well.
“I feel much of this is being driven by personal feelings they have towards the Tippmanns. Why has a thing that will be good for the area drawn opposition from a small group of people?”
The area River City plans to build its business will be from above the flood plain and the dock will be far removed from it as well.
River City’s land has already been rezoned for commercial use.