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Parks History Yearly Highlights

Yearly Highlights

 fountain_night_stephen

Photo courtesy of aroundfortwayne.com

Highlights of 2012

Exciting News

First annual downtown Winterval Festival

Huey Lewis Concert at Foellinger Theatre sells out

Legacy funding approved for McMillen Ice Rink renovation


Awards Recognizing Park Excellence

The non-profit organization KaBOOM! named Fort Wayne a "2012 Playful City USA Community"

The City of Fort Wayne named "Tree City USA" for the 22nd consecutive year

Taylor’s Dream awarded the "Daniel Flaherty Park Excellence Award" & "Excellence in Construction Award"

Franke Park Day Camp voted best summer camp by Fort Wayne Newspapers Reader’s Picks

Golf Operations Pro/Manager Rick Hemsoth awarded "PGA Indiana Section Junior Golf Leader"


New Projects and Renovations

Lakeside Park Pavilion #1 Roofing Improvements

Memorial Park Playground Improvements

Pawster Park Lighting Project

Foster Park Monument Sign Project

Swinney Park Homestead Roofing

Botanical Conservatory Terrace Improvements Project


Milestones

100th Anniversary—Foster Park

35th Anniversary—Community Center

25th Anniversary—Lindenwood Nature Preserve

15th Anniversary—Lifetime Sports Academy


Highlights of 2011

Exciting News 

Taylor’s Dream Boundless Playground opens June 10, 2011

Gallup and Knight Foundation’s “Soul of the Community” study indicates aesthetics, primarily parks and trails, are rated the greatest strength of the Fort Wayne Community

City of Fort Wayne recognized as the “2011 Outstanding Government Entity in Promoting Principles of Urban Forestry” in Indiana


Awards Recognizing Park Excellence

Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation Department receives a state award for “Outstanding Municipality of the Year” for efforts in addressing the Emerald Ash Borer challenge

Taylor’s Dream Boundless Playground is one of two national grand prize winners of the Synthetic Turf Council’s “2011 Search for the Real Field of Dreams” contest

Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation Aquatic staff receives the “Gold International Aquatic Safety” award for their commitment to professional excellence

The National Register of Historic Places grants the designation “Historic District” to the Fort Wayne Park  and Boulevard System for being an example of a comprehensive public space and transportation system developed from 1909 to 1955, and the Department receives “Historic Preservation” award

City float built by Parks & Recreation employees wins 1st place for Non-Commercial Division in the Three Rivers Festival Parade

The Conservatory and designer, Alec Johnson, win “Landscape Design Award” presented by the Downtown Improvement District at its annual American Institute of Architects Award Ceremony.

The non-profit organization KaBOOM! named Fort Wayne a “2011 Playful City USA Community”

The City of Fort Wayne named “Tree City USA” for the 21st consecutive year


New Projects and Renovations

Vesey Park Pedestrian Bridge Improvements

Foellinger Theatre Parking Lot Lighting

Park Signage Project

Johnny Appleseed Campground Improvements

Rivergreenway Boardwalk Deck Improvements

Lindenwood Nature Preserve Storage Barn

Splashpad Improvements at Waynedale and McCormick Parks
 

Milestones

40th Anniversary-Freimann Square

50thAnniversary-Swim and Dive Meet

65thAnniversary- Franke Park Day Camp

H
ighlights of 2010
 

P
rofessional Golfer John Daly kicked off the Lifetime Sports Academy’s 13th year

Taylor’s Dream Boundless Playground wins $70,000 in on-line voting competition sponsored by CVS/Pharmacy and PepsiCo

PGA Professional and Manager of Golf Operations Rick Hemsoth awarded the 2010 U.S. Kids Golf Master Kids Teacher award 

New Projects and Renovations

Lions Park Pickleball Courts

Taylor’s Dream Boundless Playground Project

Foster Park Pavilion #1 Renovation

Plock Friendship Garden

Botanical Conservatory Café Project

Swinney Park Dimension Property Master Plan 

Milestones 

35th Anniversary – Cooper Community Center 

Awards Recognizing Park Excellence 

Fort Wayne Newspapers 2010 Reader’s Picks 1st Place Winner for Best Local Park – Foster Park

The Non-Profit Organization KaBOOM! Named Fort Wayne a “Playful City USA” Community

The City of Fort Wayne was named Tree City USA for the 20th consecutive year

Merit Design Award for the design of Robert E. Meyers Park from the Indiana-American Society of Landscape Architects

Fort Wayne’s park and boulevard system included on the National Historic Register

Highlights from 2009 include:

Fort Wayne Children's Zoo's new African Journey Exhibit helps set attendance record:  The Zoo's new $9 million privately funded African Journey that opened in June fueled a new attendance record exceeding 610,000 visitors and a 28% increase over 2008's attendance. The project was four years in the making and the largest improvement to the Zoo in its 44-year history. Receiving no tax dollars, the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo is one of the area's premier attractions and consistently ranked as one of the top zoos including being named as one of the country's "Ten Best Zoos for Kids" by Parents magazine in April, 2009. 

Open-air pavilion, splash pad open at Buckner Park Phase 1: Parks dedicated and opened Buckner Park on Bass Road to the public in May. This $1.6 million phase on the 190-acre site provides a regional park experience, addressing the recreational needs on the western corridor of our city. Buckner Park is the result of a long-term development plan formulated by a task force that represented all demographics of our community. It is the home for the largest open air pavilion in Fort Wayne's parks and anchored by a large splash pad and multiple playgrounds. The rest of the property provides visitors with a natural experience in the vast tree canopy and open fields and meadows.

Robert E. Meyers Park opens at Harrison Square: This public park in the heart of the revitalization activity at Harrison Square and Parkview Field provides a sound compliment to the Parkview Field experience. Besides the landscaping of a park, it contains a splash pad and small amphitheatre that is used before and after Tin Caps games and as an additional family venue. The City's newest park was primarily funded from the estate of former Fort Wayne mayor and judge Robert E. Meyers via a gift to Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation.

Private donations and grants surpass $1 million: Despite the sluggish economy and national giving down 30%, Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation saw its donations and grants end 2009 well over the targeted $1 million. This represents private funds and provides resources that reduce dependence on taxpayers. Coupled with fee-based programming, it enables the Parks and Recreation Department to operate as one of the lowest tax-supported entities in municipal government.

One of 90 park systems nationally to earn CAPRA reaccreditation: The Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation department was reaccredited for five years by the National Recreation and Parks Association, making the department one of only 90 park systems out of more than 10,000 nationally to carry the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies  level of recognition and remains a model park system in the country.

Dedicated the Daryl B. Cobin Memorial Park, home of Carrington Field

Fort Wayne Children's Zoo earned accreditation by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums

Department entered into an agreement for the private operation of McMillen Ice Arena beginning in 2009

Dedicated a new Japanese-style pavilion in Swinney Park

Celebrated the 50th anniversary of Shoaff Park Golf course

Kicked off the fundraising campaing for the Boundless Playground

Initiated the Legacy Parks program to recognize parks that reach their 100th anniversary

Completed the splash pad and roadway extension in Shoaff Park

Restored the bandstand at McCulloch Park

Began Phase I development in Buckner Park. Completed the pavilion, playground, splash pad and parking lot late in the year. Dedication is set for spring 2009.

New playgrounds were installed at McCormick and Lafayette Parks

Foellinger Foundation announced a 50th Anniversary gift of $1 million to the Department to be used for Foellinger Theatre and the Botanical Conservatory

Highlights from 2008 include:

Dedicated the Daryl B. Cobin Memorial Park, home of Carrington Field

Fort Wayne Children's Zoo earned accreditation by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums

Department entered into an agreement for the private operation of McMillen Ice Arena beginning in 2009

Dedicated a new Japanese-style pavilion in Swinney Park

Celebrated the 50th anniversary of Shoaff Park Golf course

Kicked off the fundraising campaing for the Boundless Playground

Initiated the Legacy Parks program to recognize parks that reach their 100th anniversary

Completed the splash pad and roadway extension in Shoaff Park

Restored the bandstand at McCulloch Park

Began Phase I development in Buckner Park. Completed the pavilion, playground, splash pad and parking lot late in the year. Dedication is set for spring 2009.

New playgrounds were installed at McCormick and Lafayette Parks

Foellinger Foundation announced a 50th Anniversary gift of $1 million to the Department to be used for Foellinger Theatre and the Botanical Conservatory

Highlights from 2007 include:

Major renovations at Swinney Tennis Center including new courts, benches, bleachers, windscreens, signage and landscaping. East Swinney Pond restoration was also completed.

Purchased new RecTrac registration/reservation software which allows point of sale, real time on-line registration and reservations, e-mail communication with customers, increased internal efficiency and a greatly enhanced level of customer service to our patrons.

New splash pads were installed at Waynedale.

A 1.8 mile multi-use trail was constructed at Salomon Farm while work began on a new barn to store and display antique equipment.

Construction commenced on the new Carrington Field off Coliseum Boulevard adjacent to Lakeside Golf Course. The field will be the home of the Fort Wayne Baseball Federation. 

The Department received $2,018,417 in sponsorships, grants and donations.

The Botanical Conservatory recorded a 60% increase in rental revenue, 39% increase in rental bookings, 132% increase in catering commissions collected, 14% increase in Tulip Tree Gift Shop sales and an 11% increase in overall facility attendance.

Construction of the new African Journey at the Children’s Zoo got underway. The new Sky Safari ride opened in April to give visitors a birds-eye view of the construction progress and the attractions to come in 2009.

Highlights from 2006 include: 

Lakeside Rose Garden renovation

Salomon Farm Historic Barn renovation

Ground was broken on a new Lifetime Sports Academy Center/Golf Clubhouse scheduled to open the Spring of 2007

Foellinger Theatre improvements

Kreager soccer field improvements

Equipment was replaced in six playgrounds 

Resurfaced tennis courts, basketball courts and portions of the
Rivergreenway

Franke Day Camp celebrated its 60th summer

Botanical Conservatory offered a Friday evening summer concert series, "Wired for Sound" that was so successful it will be back in 2007!

Reopening of
Cooper Center with expanded programming

The Zoo announced an $8 million capital campaign to substantially renovate the zoo's African Veldt.

Mayor Henry's Tree Commission builds on success: Following the December 2008's ice storm tree damage and subsequent tree limb clean-up, Mayor Tom Henry appointed an ad-hoc tree commission on Arbor Day with representation from major business and public officials that provided recommendations and evaluations to the Parks Department's urban forestry program. Building upon the Forestry Division's strong maintenance program, the recommendations addressed a comprehensive approach to managing Fort Wayne's urban forest including Emerald Ash Borer disease, emergency response to tree problems and future funding of our canopy.

Primary Performance Metrics:

85-90% Customer Satisfaction, approval ratings: All Parks programs and services achieved an average 85- 90% satisfaction rating from users based on independent evaluations submitted following all programs and services.

Parks and Recreation 2009 Attendance/Registration: Parks and Recreation provided 1,500 programs and events in 2009. These included day camps, concerts, special events, sports lessons, leagues, classes, trips, Lifetime Sports Academy, golf, youth and community center activities. We had over 16,000 registrations for fee-based programs. There were 60,000 rounds of golf played, nearly 100,000 attendees in the pools including learn-to-swim classes. The free Lifetime Sports Academy had a record year with more than 1,800 registrations and attendance at 14,600. Our free summer and youth/community centers had attendance of nearly 100,000. Foellinger Theatre events had record attendance - 100,000 - and revenue exceeding $150,000, compared to only $50,000 in recent years. The Botanical Conservatory has stabilized its dependence on General Fund support with improved showcases, sold-out wedding venues and outdoor concerts.

Capital Improvement Projects below budget: All capital projects that were either publicly or privately funded were completed below budget, not requiring any additional appropriation of public funds.

Attendance and Fees up in Major Programs and Venues: Non-tax revenue experienced increases in major venues such as the Botanical Conservatory, Foellinger Theatre and our three golf courses, resulting in a reduction in tax dollars needed for these major operations. We implemented a new operating model at Foster Park's golf course that made it financially self-sufficient and improved overall profitability.

 

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