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Welcome to the Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation Department

I'd like to recongnize all the community support as I begin my second year as Executive Director of the Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation Department! We are very fortunate to be part of a community that values parks and we have a team of employees who are committed to providing excellent services and offerings to the public. 

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As COVID-19 grips our nation we are urging our citizens to take heed of every recommendation coming from the Board of Health and the CDC when it comes to using the parks wisely and safely.  Our 87 parks remain open at this time and our playgrounds and spraygrounds opened on June 12th.  A complete list of facilities CLOSED at this point is now available: as of today (September 3, 2020) current list based on the Governor Holcomb's Back on Track PlanOur Fall Fun Times is NOW available full of the programs that we can safely offer to our community.  Our state will be "Back on Track" soon and until then stay safe!

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The new covered walking bridge at Salomon Farm Park was officially dedicated on August 11, 2020.  I was joined by the family of the late Don Wolf (Rick Wolf is pictured above).  Rick's dad, the late Don Wolf, had been talking about building a covered bridge for several years and through Don's efforts along with support from the Auer Foundation, the "Bridge to the Future" became a reality.  The intention is to eventually lead to more walking trails being built on the southern portion of the land, allowing pedestrian traffic through the covered bridge. 

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I can't believe it has been a year since Promenade Park first opened!  We have been so pleased with the development of this park and how the Fort Wayne community has embraced Promenade Park in a special way.  On August 8, 2020 we held a special one year celebration called, "River, Set, Go!".  Granted the celebration had to be scaled back because of COVID-19 but still we were able to safely celebrate this fine park with floating yoga, paddle play, a paddle parade and end the night with a floating firepit finale!  I urge you if you haven't visited this park to put it on your list as we think you will thoroughly enjoy your experience.  For more about the park, please visit:  

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I was pleased to join the AWS Foundation and Mayor Tom Henry along with other community leaders to help celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) at Northside Park. A new plaque in memory and honor  of the thousands of children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities who once lived at the "State School" was unveiled  To learn more about what this means to our community please visit  


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On July 20 I launched the Parks Podcast featurning guests from our Team.  To date we've covered the Community Center (Patti Davis), Riverfront Fort Wayne (Megan Butler), and Youth Programming at Weisser Park Youth Center (Zynette Paige, pictured above). Check out our new Parks Podcasts link and be ready to listen in as we focus on other areas of the Department.

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On June 30, 2020 I was part of an announcement at the Foellinger Theatre. The Fort Wayne Civic Theatre announced that they will be proceeding with their upcoming productions of the musicals Legally Blonde and 1776 in partnership with Foellinger Outdoor Theatre and Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation.  Read the News Release to learn more about safety protocols that will be put in place during the productions.  Tickets can be purchased starting July 1st!  Ready to purchase tickets?  Check out the Foellinger Theatre link.  In addition, we are offering two free performances, The New Millennium Jazz Orchestra on August 12, and the Fort Wayne Area Community Band on September 8.  We are "Still Here, Always FUN, Going Strong!"  Learn more!


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Recently I was invited to join Mayor Tom Henry on the podcast to discuss how our Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation Department  is navigating through COVID-19.

Listen here:

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While you are "sheltering in place" enjoy our new link of virtual activities at FWParks@Home where you can go on a walk, take a class, read blogs, find activities and just have fun!  Check back often as we add more content daily.

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Recently I had the opportunity to help with our Dinner service to school children  at McMillen Community Center.

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Pictured above: two of the youth who stopped by with their parent to pick up their meal at McMillen. 

We are thankful of the great partnership with Community Harvest Food Bank to provide meals to youth in our community.

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The Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation Department's mission is to enhance the quality of life in Fort Wayne by providing positive opportunities for leisure time and by being stewards of our park lands, facilities, public trees and other resources entrusted to our care. We believe we enhance the quality of life in our community and are committed to providing the best department possible.

We accomplish our mission by offering classes and programs for all ages, 86 parks of all sizes, 4 Golf Courses,5 Community Centers (McMillen, Weisser, Cooper, Jennings, and our downtown Community Center), Rivergreenway Trails, a Botanical Conservatory,3 Aquatic Centers, an Outdoor Theatre, Lindenwood, Salomon, Hurshtown, Headwaters Park & Ice Arena as well as the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo and many other places to seek respite in a high tech world.

Would you like to learn more about all the different amenities the Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation Department provides to the community? Check out the Parks Profile flyer  to learn more.

Recently we asked for the Community to step up and assist us with the Comprehensive Survey.  We are pleased to announce the results of the survey that were presented at the Board of Park Commissioners meeting on June 11,2020.  This very positive report will assist us in the years to come as we plan for the future. The Comprehensive Survey is now available to be viewed on-line.  

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If you were part of the Grand Opening of Promenade Park you witnessed a historical moment in the life of Fort Wayne!  We came together as one community celebrating arts and culture (Friday), recreation (Saturday) and nature (Sunday)! We were so impressed by the number of people that "showed up" to be part of this celebration!  I am personally so thankful for everyone that made this weekend so special!

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I wanted to share a few photos from Saturday and our Park Paddlers Dragon Boat Team.  Although we didn't come in first place we had an awesome time competing and looking forward to 2020 when we will be even stronger! 

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Now that we cut the ribbon and opened Promenade Park the public is asking when will Phases II and III of Riverfront be ready to enjoy? 

Promenade Park is just the beginning of Riverfront Development.  As we continue to work on the next phases, this will be an outstanding transformation for our city, the region and our citizens.  The Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation Department is managing the process and overseeing the buildout of the initial project.

Phases II and III of the Riverfront development involve creating an exciting and vibrant district called Riverfront Fort Wayne. The public spaces for these phases will be pathways or connections accessible to all residents and visitors so they can enjoy the riverfront and the shops, businesses and housing that will be located there. If you would like to learn more about What's Next for Riverfront Fort Wayne? You can find out about the master planning process at  

Learn more about the Riverfront

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Mayor Tom Henry and l officially unveiled the first piece of Promenade Park to the public on July 26, 2019. “Convergence, Linda Howard, 2018, presented by the Waterfield Foundation” sits on the southeast corner of Promenade Park, near the intersection of Superior and Harrison streets. Mayor Henry and McDaniel shared their excitement for the sculpture, especially as it means the opening of the first phase of Riverfront Fort Wayne is getting closer.  Read more...

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As 2019 comes quickly to a close we rounded off our year with an "Investing in our Future: Commitment to Maintain & Improve Parks" Press Conference.  In addition to opening Promenade Park, we worked on over $3 million in capital improvement projects in a variety of parks.  Learn more on the Invest link

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 We are so grateful that Conjure Coffee cafe' has now opened up a shop inside the Botanical Conservatory!  I was honored to assist with cutting the ribbon.  Read more...

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The Community Center held Santa's Workshop during the Night of Lights (Nov. 27).  At 6:05 pm we had a Rooftop Lighting Ceremony and I had an opportunity to meet & greet those that braved the elements to come out and have some FREE fun!


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In November I was honored to speak at the Veterans' Breakfast & Bingo held at the Community Center where we honored over 100 men and women and their families who have served our country in the military with a FREE breakfast and bingo.  American Legion Band of Fort Wayne provided live music and American Legion Post 241 Honor Guard provided the presentation of the Flags.

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Recently we announced our 2019 Concert Series.  We are very excited about the great acts we brought to Fort Wayne this summer.  

Go to the Foellinger Theatre link for additional details next spring about the 2020 line up.


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Mayor Tom Henry and I along with Rebecca Canales, Botanical Conservatory Director (left) and Kelly Updike, Embassy Theatre President  cut the vine on October 17, 2019 to officially open the new Conservatory Connector!

The $552,000 project links the Conservatory to the lower level of the Embassy Theatre, the Grand Wayne Center, the Fort Wayne Hilton, and other downtown destinations.

This has been a project we’ve been trying to make happen for several years. The Botanical Conservatory draws thousands of visitors during the entire year and this project now allows everyone to visit without having to brave the elements. We are extremely appreciative of the donors and our project team that has finally made the Connector a reality.  Read more...

Lifetime Sports Academy Awards

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I am excited to share photos from the 2019 Lifetime Sports Academy Awards. Each year, the Parks and Recreation Department provides certified coaching and highly trained professionals who direct lessons in swimming, tennis and golf. Offering instruction in three sports has been a successful formula throughout the years.

Check out the Press Release regarding the Lifetime Sports Academy Awards.


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The 73rd Annual Big Pow Wow was held recently in Franke Park. I was honored to be in attendance and welcome the campers, parents, volunteers and staff that make this program possible.

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, this popular camp provides an environment which fosters cooperation, problem solving and socialization as well as the dirty, muddy, outdoor fun kids of all ages enjoy!


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I am very excited about the Connector project.  The above picture is from the "ground breaking" that took place.  We had to be flexible with our "ground breaking" due to the RAIN we received that day.  And that is just the point, when the Connector is open (approximately in late October) visitors to the city will be able to travel inside from several destinations safely without being inconvenienced by the weather. Read more... 

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Summer is HERE! Our golf courses are open and ready for you! Find out more about the Golf Courses!!

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Unwind Your Mind  is a relatively new initiative to offer activities for those in our community with signs of early dementia. Check out the link to learn more and watch this new program GROW.

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Recently we kicked off the 41st Annual Senior Games!  We reached our goal of over 500 participants this year.   

Do you like to travel? Come with us for a Day or Extended Trip! Check out the complete list of trips and pack your bags!!

If you are looking for something a little different, check out the McMillen Park Community Center! Since it opened on June 7th, 2014 business has been booming. Activities are offered for all ages. Check it out at:McMillen Park Community Center.


Have you visited "Taylor's Dream Boundless Playground" in Kreager Park. If not, round up all the kids in your family and head out for a day of exploring this wonderful playground where all kids can participate and enjoy the many features of this very unique facility. Check out the Boundless Playground link for more information.  In addition to the splashpad in Kreager Park you can enjoy splashpads in seven other parks!  Check out more about the splashpads or if you are looking for even more water fun...hit the pools this summer!

What about trying a new sport? What about Pickleball? It is often compared to badminton, ping pong and tennis, with its own set of rules. Head out to Lions Park or to McMillen Park Community Center and give this new sport a try!! Check out the Pickleball link for further information.

Speaking of new sports...have you heard about  FootGolf? We opened a 9 hole course at Mad Anthony III's in 2015! Perhaps Futsal at Packard Park (an exciting, fast-paced small sided soccer game played on a hard court) sounds intriguing or trying the new Frisbee Golf Course at Tillman Park?  Both Futsal and the Frisbee Golf Course at Tillman are scheduled to be open this summer!

If you love to be outside to walk, run, bike or skate, check out the numerous trails including the Rivergreenway!  Rivergreenway Trails start north at Shoaff Park and head south to Tillman.  There is also an East/West trail from Kreager Park to the confluence.  Learn more about the Rivergreenway Trails

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Do you enjoy everything floral?  Fort Wayne Parks floral gardens have been a destination for over 80 years.  Unique and colorful displays are found at four major gardens and smaller garden locations.  Lakeside Garden at Lakeside Park is a formal setting featuring roses, Foster Gardens at Foster Park is a show-stopping mix of annuals, perennials, and flowering trees.  Freimann Square offers a site for relaxation downtown among beautiful flowers and a spectacular fountain.  The Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, also located downtown, offers a year-round respite in the indoor gardens with 4 unique displays and 4 floral changes in the Showcase Garden, a jungle experience in the Tropical Garden, and a trip in the desert in the Arid House.  The Botanical Conservatory also offers numerous Special Events, classes and a widely popular Summer Day Camp!

Looking for even more to do? Especially outside? Check out the link Meet Me at the Park for additional ideas.

The Fort Wayne Park & Recreation Department partnered with Google Maps and the Indiana Park & Recreation Association to provide panoramic images that are now available for everyone to enjoy on Google Maps.  You can now explore your local parks in person and on-line. Check out how the Google Trekker works by viewing Lawton Park!



Salomon Farm Homestead Opening Ceremony

It was a great priviledge to be part of the Salomon Farm Homestead Opening Ceremony! Many thanks to the generous community support that made this possible.  Check out the NEW Salomon Farm Homestead link for additional information on how you can rent this space or tour the Homestead during a special event.

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Enjoy the new look of the front of the Salomon Farm Homestead.   

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The new look of the back of the Homestead.

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The Salomon Farm Wolf Learning Center addition was complete the summer of 2018.  This allowed for an addition that more than doubled the space  including a teaching kitchen


We are proud to announce that the City continues to invest in the Parks & Recreation Department, with additional funding slated for 2019! In 2018, many improvements were made including a new restroom building, new playground and campground improvements at Johnny Appleseed Park,   a restroom facility and open air shelter at Shoaff, several new playgrounds, exercise stations at Kreager, and many more improvements.  Check out our Invest link  to see photos and information on some of our planned and recently completed projects.

To keep all these parks & facilities looking fresh and operating smoothly takes a tremendous support team. I am so thankful for the dedication our team commits to making your Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation the best it can possibly be. Speaking of our staff, if there is a specific staff person that you would like to nominate, complete the  "Caught in the Act"  form and submit to us!

Are you curious about the work at Foster Park? The Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation Department is cooperating with City Utilities in City Parks with the main visible work being done at Foster Park. This work is part of the Tunnel Works Program representing a major part of Fort Wayne's efforts to implement the 2008 Long-Term Control Plan and associated Consent Decree with the US Environmental Protection Agency. The premier project - the deep rock tunnel - will be constructed in the bedrock deep below the city. The tunnel will collect and transport sewage from the combined sewer system to the sewage treatment plant. This sewage would otherwise discharge (overflow) into the rivers when it rains. For more information, please refer to the project’s website at

If you are ready to see what we have to offer, you can Register or view an on-line copy of the Current Fun Times.

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Once you have explored the parks and recreational areas, let us know how we are doing. Your feedback is very important to us. Please complete our on-line survey. Our overall customer service rating continues to run over 90%!!

We take great pride in striving to be one of the best Park & Recreation Department's in the nation. Check back often and see what new and cool things we have in store for you.

Steve McDaniel, Director
705 E. State Blvd.
Fort Wayne, Indiana 46805
Phone (260) 427-6000
FAX (260) 427-6020

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