FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The Summit City’s new canal boat took it’s final voyage of the season Saturday.
The riverfront development’s latest attraction, Sweet Breeze, was created to make the people of Fort Wayne believe in the entertainment value of their three rivers. It’s a 54-foot boat modeled after an authentic 1840’s canal boat. It’s a three-fourth scale replica that weighs 27,000 pounds and cost $650,000.
“Sweet Breeze is just a piece of the quality of life for our community,” said Dan Wire, one of the boat’s captains. “It isn’t so much about the boat as it is an opportunity for some folks to enjoy the resources, which is our rivers. That’s what’s going to assist with many other activities, the growth of Fort Wayne and Northeast Indiana.”
If there’s one thing Wire will never waiver from, it’s from believing that people need to embrace the city’s rivers.
“People don’t know what they don’t know,” he explained. “So over the last quarter of a century, what most individuals have heard about their rivers is, ‘be careful,’ ‘It’s raining,’ ‘We’re going to flood,’ ‘Get your sandbags packed,’ and ‘watch out the sewers might be overflowing.'”
He said people are just unaware of how much recreational opportunity they hold. They also don’t realize how much has been invested in bettering the river quality such as the city making a long-term control plan that will reduce 90 percent of the sewer overflows in 5 years.
“So, Sweet Breeze will give people on the banks seeing the boat running the hint that, ‘hmph, maybe I can use the rivers.'”
The boat was designed by Greater Fort Wayne, is owned by Friends of the Rivers and Operated by Fort Wayne Outfitters. Tickets are $30 for a 45-minute ride and $20 for a 90-minute ride.
Since it’s maiden voyage in June, more than 250 people have ridden Sweet Breeze. All while learning about riverfront’s development, accessibility, history, quality and environment from the boat’s guide.
The boat rides are customizable. Guests can have can have a public tour, a private celebration or even dinner with family and friends. Also with eight miles of water downtown, riders get to choose their own unique path along the rivers.
Sweet Breeze will hit the waters once again next spring.