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Parks History 1980-1985

1980-1985

Year

Event

1980

  • Northside Park Tennis Courts constructed with funds from Fort Wayne Community Schools, $64,900.
  • With the help of Japanese citizens, Japanese Gardens developed on east side of Performing Arts Building downtown as a gift from our sister city, Takaoka, Japan.
  • Central park office relocated from City-County Building to 705 E. State Blvd., former site of State Hospital and Training Center.
  • Diehm Museum of Natural History reconstructed in Franke Park (after lost to fire) to take advantage of proximity to zoo.
  • Land and Water Conservation Fund grant provided funds to implement several phases of Rivergreenway.
  • Department received the coveted Gold Medal Award for Excellence in the Field of Park and Recreation Management presented by the Sports Foundation, Inc.

1981

  • After 50 years of continuous service, the Park Police operation was disbanded due to budget cuts.
  • $400,000 maintenance trust fund dedicated by Freimann Charitable Trust for maintenance of Freimann Square.
  • Swinney Homestead admitted to National Register.
  • West Central Park was renamed Moody Park and dedicated on August 1.
  • Jehl Park dedicated. Developed with Land and Water Conservation Fund grant and a private donation.
  • Ground breaking for Botanical Conservatory.
  • $100,000 secured from Land and Water Conservation Fund for Rivergreenway development and a $25,000 appropriation approved by state for land acquisition.
  • $6.7 million bond issue initiated to finance park improvements.

1982

  • Department passed a $6.95 million bond issue for park improvements.
  • Began construction of new education center and office complex at the zoo with funds from the 1982 bond. 
  • Ground breaking for the zoo gift shop. 
  • Improvements from bond funds included work at McMillen Ice Arena, Shoaff Golf Course and Foster Golf Course. 
  • Memorial Pool renovated as part of bond projects. 
  • Permanent closing of Lawton Park Pool, oldest pool in the state, perhaps in the mid-west. Opened in 1918, pool was in operation for 65 years. 
  • Construction began on Northside pool in newly developed Northside Park (site of old State School). 
  • Department developed first gift catalog. 
  • Department devoted countless hours combating ravages of the March flood. 
  • Department lost 10 structures to arson at an estimated cost of $269,486.  

1983

1984

  • Fort Wayne/Allen County Senior Citizens Center Foundation, Inc. was created.
  • McMillen Pool renovated.
  • Gren Park dedicated in June.
  • Rivergreenway dedicated in June.
  • UPARR grant secured to study usage and need for computers.

1985

  • BMX bike track built in Rockhill Park.
  • Zoo celebrated 20th anniversary.
  • Josephine Longfellow Diver Perennial Collection dedicated in Foster Garden.
  • A comprehensive study of the park system was conducted by Dr. Louis Moncrief and associates from Michigan State University, Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism. Study emphasized budgets, data management, philosophy, goals, organization, revenue sources and philanthropy.
  • Pi Chapter of Psi Iota Xi Sorority donated $65,000 for renovation of the barn in Northside Park.
  • Acquired abandoned Lincolndale Drive-in property adjacent to Franke Park.

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