Size in acres: 4

When completed in 2019, Promenade Park will be open to the public in downtown Fort Wayne. 


Riverfront Brochure

For more information about the project, check out the Riverfront Fort Wayne brochure.

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Construction Update: Riverfront Phase I

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View the November 11, 2018 Construction Report

View additional Construction Reports

  The Proposed Site Plan

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13 Bandshell - Shade Structure18 Tree Canopy Trail

Three rivers converge in the heart of downtown Fort Wayne.
People in Northeast Indiana have gathered here for centuries.
Experience the legacy. Explore the natural wonder.
And enjoy this community’s new momentum forward.

Riverfront Revival


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In the 2000s, Northeast Indiana’s residents began to recognize the importance of our rivers again.

Mayor Tom Henry established Legacy Fort Wayne in 2011 to guide the spending of approximately $75 million through the Light Lease Settlement and Fort Wayne Community Trust funds. The Mayor solicited hundreds of ideas from the community on how best to utilize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and the desire for riverfront development rose to the top of the list.

With the public’s overwhelming support, Mayor Henry commissioned a comprehensive Riverfront study. Throughout the process, thousands of residents completed surveys, attended events, heard presentations, shared their ideas and even experienced the rivers themselves with riverboat excursions and Dragon Boat races.

In 2015, a conceptual plan was drawn up and shared with the community. Fort Wayne City Council approved $6 million in funds for Riverfront work, including maintenance, development and events. Mayor Henry formed a Riverfront Implementation Committee to guide the project, and the city hired Riverworks Design Group to take the conceptual plan and develop schematic designs.

This led to Phase I of Riverfront Fort Wayne. 

Learn more about the Ground Breaking News Release on Promenade Park! 

Promenade Park Sculpture



Are you curious about the Sculpture? 

Little Creek Bioswale

Little Creek Bioswale

What is the Little Creek Bioswale? Learn more...
This project is partly funded by:
GLRI logo


We're lighting up the river with year-round programs.  Check out the on-line calendar  for information on Winter programs including: Birdwatching on Our Urban Rivers, Young Naturalist Series, Riverfront Educational Series, Winter Cozy, Riverfront Cleanups and more!


 View Time Lapse Photos: Construction Cam

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Construction Cam of both the North & South banks. 

For additional information on construction, check out: Riverfront Construction 

 The Park Foundation Pavilion

2017-08-08 updated pavilion rendering

The Park Foundation Pavilion will be available for public use as well as private rental in 2019.  Seating for 150 will be available both inside and outside of the pavilion. Restrooms for both public and private use will be available as well. Additional information will be released at a later date.


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Donations are needed for Promenade Park for an on-going maintenance endowment once the park opens.  Individual donations may be given on-line.  For corporate donations please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Deputy Director of Riverfront, at 260-427-5986.  

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Franklin School Park

Size in acres: 4.25 acres

Since: March 2016

Franklin School Park is located at 1903 Saint Mary's Avenue. 

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This property was once a school and has been converted into a park.  This historic arches that were part of the school complex were renovated to keep the charm of the property.

Franklin school photo

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Phase I

The renovation of the arches has been completed.  This phase also includes construction of family restrooms in the pavilion, site work and a new splash pad. 

Grand Opening of Franklin School Park Phase 1

Phase I of Franklin School Park opened in 2016.  The splash pad is available seasonally from 9 am-9 pm.  The park is open from 6 am-11 pm daily.  Enjoy the below photos of the completed project.

Franklin 1
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Phase II

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The photos show the new parking lot and concrete patio with sidewalk as well as the pavilion under construction.  


 IMG 4682      Pavilion with sidewalks in front


The inside of the pavilion includes new restroom facilities, a kitchen, and a large multi-purpose room that can now be used as a year-round rental facility.  The renovation also included all new heating and air conditioning so the building can be used all year.  The site work consisted of a new parking lot with lighting, a new concrete patio with trees, seat walls, and a new sidewalk connecting to the street.

IMG 4693      pavilion at night from side 2

The new David Hefner Pavilion and the $1.8 million Franklin School Park is now complete.  Read more about the project and all of the neighborhood advocates and community leaders that came together to make this project a reality. 





Franke Park
In 1921, 80 acres were donated by John B. Franke the president of the Perfection Biscuit Company.  Over the course of 90 years the first 80 acres have flourished into 329.4 acres. Today it includes: the Day Camp, an outdoor theatre, 3 pavilions, a pond, a playground, the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, picnic areas, trails, and lots of open space. Over Franke Park’s long history the park has had a number of uses:

  • In the early 1920’s the Fort Wayne Rifle and Revolver Club attempted to make use of Franke Park but this quickly ended as it was determined to be too hazardous in the summer months.
  • A neighbor of the park was asked to remove his cattle from Franke Park before a Labor Day picnic in 1923.
  • An Anti-Tuberculosis Christmas Seal Camp which operated for 18 years, ending in 1945.
  • In 1939 a small man-made lake was created. It was used for ice skating, ice skating derby, and the Fort Wayne figure skating club in the 1940’s.
  • Winter carnivals were also held in the park in the 1940’s.
  • The Boy Scouts wished to hold their annual Camporee in 1944.
  • The Fort Wayne Women’s Casting and Conservation Club wanted to get involved by suggesting Post War activities and improvements.
  • There was a request from Northside High school track coach in 1939 to use dirt areas as tracks.
  • The National Guard Units consisting of 300 men used the park for seven days of field training in 1939.
  • Around 1946, there were also donations for the pond of ducks and 3 swans.  Two flew away and never returned and it was decided that the future swans would be donated to St. Francis College.
  • In 1952 a Bird and Wildlife Sanctuary opened to the public and Fred B. Shoaff donated 54.36 acres to become part of Franke Park.
  • In 1961, fifteen flowering Japanese cherry trees were donated to Franke Park by the International Christian University of Mitaka-Shi, Tokyo, Japan. The trees were a symbol of the tenth year of the friendship between Fort Wayne and the University.
  • In 1972 the Nature Lodge in Franke Park burned.
  • In 2002 after extensive negotiations the Franke Park parking lot expansion was completed, adding approximately 600 new spaces for park and zoo visitors.

photo1This photo shows the symbolic planting of Japanese Cherry Trees in 1961

Franke Park Day Camp

Since its inception in 1946, Franke Park Day Camp has provided unforgettable childhood experiences for thousands of Fort Wayne area youth. With its strong emphasis on nature education, basic camping skills and Native American Lore, Franke Park Day Camp provides an environment which fosters cooperation, problem solving and socialization as well as the dirty, muddy, outdoor fun kids of all ages enjoy! In 1988 the program was extended to include 4-5 year olds.  Franke Day Camp was presented with a Citation for Excellence from the Alfred Adler Institute of Fort Wayne in 1996 and is the Fort Wayne Park and Recreation Department's longest running children's program. The camp is celebrating its 71st  season this summer.

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The Foellinger Outdoor Theatre

The Foellinger Theatre in Franke Park was constructed in 1949 as a gift to the community from Helene Foellinger in memory of her father, Oscar Foellinger, former publisher of the Fort Wayne News Sentinel.  The Theatre was to provide a unique type of entertainment space - an informal, open-air community gathering and performing area, set in a grassy hillside in the park. A fire in 1972 provided an opportunity to make major improvements to the theatre. The reconstruction started in 1975 and in 1976, the present open-sided dome and a new stage house were added through the generosity of the Foellinger Foundation. The theatre seats approximately 2,500 fans. In 1994 renovations included new seating and a new electrical system; funding provided by the Foellinger Foundation. A grant of $200,000 was provided by the Foellinger Foundation and the Theatre purchased a new sound system. 1999 marked the 50th anniversary of the theatre and another grant from the Foellinger Foundation providing better sound and lighting equipment. Various improvements have been made to Foellinger Theatre throughout the years.  

Diehm Museum

In 1964 the Jack D. Diehm Museum of Natural History was donated and constructed. The museum offered a variety of mounted fish, fowl and other mammals which provided an excellent educational space for nature study. In 1980 Diehm Museum was lost to a fire and reconstructed. In 2011 the Diehm Museum was officially closed.

 The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo

In 1952, 54 acres were added to Fort Wayne’s Franke Park to establish a na­ture preserve. At that time animal displays included four monkeys, a black bear, three wild­cats, deer, mountain goats, raccoons, foxes, porcupines, pheasants, ducks, swans, and an American eagle. On July 3, 1965, at a cost of $500,000  Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, comprising five and one-half acres and 18 exhibits, opened to the public. In 1969, Director Earl Wells established the Zoo Mobile program, which visited every third grade classroom in Allen County. By 1982 there were about 550 animals in the zoo, with 12 permanent staff and 50 seasonal workers. Nearly 100 volunteers helped where needed. The opening of the Australian Adventure in 1987 was the crowning event of the year. The zoo broke all attendance records, and received a prestigious award from the professional zoo community. The African Journey’s grand opening in 2009 brought unprecedented publicity to the zoo. Parents magazine named the zoo one of the nation’s “Top Ten Zoos for Kids.” More than 613,000 people visited the zoo in 2009, far out­pacing the previous record of 540,000 guests in 1994.

--To read the entire history of the zoo please visit www.kidszoo.org

 Soap Box Derby Track/BMX

Ground was broken on March 24, 1969 by Tom Chapman, the secretary of Fort Wayne Soap Box Derby, Inc. The first Soap Box Derby was held on July 20, 1969. The competition was available to boys 11-15 years of age. Sixty cars competed for a $500.00 savings bond and a paid vacation for a week to the Derby Downs, Ohio. The winner then went on to compete for a $7,500.00 college scholarship. Just a few years later in 1974 prizes included trophies, Magnavox Color TV, Magnavox black and white TV, radios, t-shirts, and a watch. In 1992 the last Soap Box Derby was held.  In 1994 the BMX track was moved from Rockhill Park to Franke Park which took place of the Soap Box Derby Track. Currently events are held seasonally at the track. For more information about BMX go to the Franke Park BMX Facebook page.

photo2Above shows the near completion of the Soap Box Derby Track in 1969

Testimonials from parents and campers: 

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My son has really enjoyed this week.  This is the first year he has done it and he is already asking about next year-great camp well run.  Sahara T.

Jac said "I really loved camp a bunch! I really loved the counselors too, they were really nice! Joy C.

Chris Salomon truly gave the city of Fort Wayne a gift with giving his farm-children are able to experience life like many of their forefathers did, but they will not-it is a true blessing to our community. Monica L.

This camp was a wonderful experience that will stay with my daughter for years to come. Jennifer H.

Farm Camp gives our children life skills on a safe and beautiful farm close to home and without anything "plugged in", thank you.  Rebecca E.

It is fun and you get to do a lot of fun things.  My favorite part was taking care of the animals-especially the little white chicken that is not Rex. (Emma)

My 4 yr. old son really enjoyed the morning camp.  It was great, he got to pet goats, bunnies and even learned about bats, his favorite was the mud puddle day, it was really good. Patricia R.

I love this program.  I travel all the way from Illinois just to do it. Rebecca K.

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Zeis Park

Size in acres: .05

Zeis Park is located near the intersection of Spy Run Avenue and Baltes Avenue. For more detailed location information, check out the General Park Map , or Driving Directions.

Description: Zeis Park was formally a small grass area with a simple wooden sign reading its name. The Filtration Plant used to have a section of railroad tracks which has since been removed. The sign was removed and the area was constructed as a gravel parking lot. There is a small strip of grass surrounding the lot offering natural open space.

Zeis Park is owned by the City Water Department.


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Upcoming Events

Christmas at the Fort
24 Nov 2018  11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Christmas on the Farm
1 Dec 2018   1:00 pm - 5:00 pm

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Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation Department  705 E. State Blvd.   Fort Wayne, IN 46805  (260) 427-6000 parkswebmaster@cityoffortwayne.org