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Welcome to the Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation Department

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.

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: www.riverfrontfw.org  

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 plan.riverfrontfw.org.  

Learn more about the Riverfront. 
 


Learn more about our Department

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.  

I'd like to recognize all the community support that is so essential as the 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. 

This winter we are planning activities and events that will comply with current COVID-19 protocols (see below).  In November & December we will offer: "Oh, Christmas Tree!" Holiday Exhibit, Reindeer Saturdays, Picture time, Winter Solstice, Christmas on the Farm, Stop N Shop Wagon Rides and much more.  Check out our Current Fun Times to learn more.  


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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.

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.

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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.

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 http://fortwaynetunnel.org . 

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.

 Also, please check out the information below to learn more about some of our major accomplisments in 2020.

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In Fort Wayne we are very fortunate to have many great partners.  On October 16, 2020 we celebrated our partnership with Turnstone.  Four basketball courts in McMillen Park were resurfaced and enhanced and now feature a giant four-court mural installed by local artist Andre Portee. The project is funded by a $50,000 NBA All-Star Legacy Grant which seeks to expand the accessibility of basketball across the state of Indiana. Learn more....




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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 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 www.awsfoundation.org  

 

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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), Youth Programming at Weisser Park Youth Center (Zynette Paige, pictured above), and Eric Ummel (Supervisor of Landscape). 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: https://bit.ly/3escYBL

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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.


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 are striving to be one of the best Park & Recreation Department's in the nation. 

If you have ideas you would like to share, feel free to reach out to me. 

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

 







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