• First full-time Zoo Education Supervisor hired.
  • Miner Community Center opened.
  • Three buildings burned: Jefferson Center, McMillen Barn and the Nature Lodge in Franke Park.


  • Fire at Foellinger Theatre.
  • Park Foundation established to provide funding for capital improvements for the Department.
  • Cooperative evening movie program offered with the Fort Wayne Police Department.
  • Department offices move to the City-County Building.


  • Rock concerts and organized activities provided on Sunday afternoons in Swinney and Foster Parks for teenagers.
  • Reorganization of park maintenance methods and concepts.
  • Took over the operation and maintenance of City Utilities and Reservoir Parks.
  • Freimann Square completed.


  • Organized and conducted Recreation Fair in conjunction with the Mayor's Recreation Coordinating Committee.
  • Adoption of Affirmative Action Policy.
  • Hosted state-wide conference for the Indiana Senior Citizens Association.
  • Assisted with the Indiana State HPER Conference.
  • Park Master Plan presented to City Council.


  • Tillman Park developed at site of former Tillman Dump.
  • Federal Revenue Sharing Funds used to construct new parks.
  • Foellinger Theatre rebuilt.
  • Street Outreach Program sponsored by the Department and funded by the Indiana Criminal Justice Planning Agency.
  • First Johnny Appleseed Festival.
  • Funmobile service increased with the development of a new concept in playground programming.
  • Began operation of Cooper Community Center.


  • African Veldt opened at the Children's Zoo.
  • Park Study Team organized to evaluate all parks with respect to current social patterns and needs for physical changes to meet the new demands.
  • A federal EEO review of the Department was conducted by a team from Washington D.C. resulting in a high compliance rating.
  • Department adopted a change in policy which emphasized fees and charges to make services and programs financially self-supporting.
  • Foellinger Theatre reopened following completion of the basic reconstruction. 
  • First full season of operation for Lindenwood Park Environmental Study Area, leased from the Lindenwood Cemetery.  


  • Stewart-McMillen Tennis Center completed.
  • Completion and opening of new Senior Citizens Center.


  • Lawton Park Greenhouse destroyed by fire.
  • Therapeutic Recreation Program implemented. The Department was awarded the Pioneering Award by IPRA for being the first Parks and Recreation Department in Indiana to start such a program.
  • Recreation services provided outside Fort Wayne city limits for the first time through a purchase of services agreement.


  • 75th anniversary of the department.
  • First Annual Winter Festival.
  • First Three Rivers Festival Junior Golf Tournament sponsored by Bordens marked the beginning of the annual Junior Golf Program.
  • The 1979-83 Park Master Plan completed and approved by the State Department of Natural Resources, Outdoor Recreation Division.
  • Recognition of the Fort Wayne Park Department Employees Independent Union, Inc. as the bargaining agent for all non-supervisory employees.
  • A multi-party agreement drawn up between the Redevelopment Commission, Park Board, Park Foundation, Foellinger Foundation, and the Freimann Charitable Trust. Agreement states what each party will be doing in its relationship to create the Botanical Conservatory.
  • Grant through the Department of Natural Resources approved which will involve a study of wood utilization.
  • Launching of the Historic River Cruise Program.
  • Department hosted the First Joint State Conference for IPRA, IAHPER, ICEA.
  • Great Zoo Halloween introduced.
  • Policy manual compiled for the Department assembling for the first time all Park Board policies into one document.
  • Swinney Pool renovated at cost of $80,250. 
  • East Central Park dedicated. The park was acquired on March 15, 1978.
  • Ewing Park dedicated.
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