2004 Exciting News
  • Achieved agency accreditation through the National Parks and Recreation Association’s Commission for the Accreditation of Recreation Agencies (CAPRA).
  • Lawton Skatepark opened on September 3. The facility was funded largely by private donations.
  • Opened the new Sharks, Rays & Jellyfish exhibit at the Children’s Zoo and recorded the second largest attendance in 39 years with 523,940 visitors.  
  • Constructed a new pole barn at Salomon Farm and began renovation of the historic barn.  
  • Celebrated the grand re-opening of Foster Park after extensive flooding in July 2003 closed the course for the   remainder of the season  
  • The comprehensive plan initiated in 2002 was completed.
  • Buckner Farm Park opened to the public on October 1 after a path and parking area were constructed.
  • Received the Outstanding Park Development Award from IPRA and the Outstanding Concrete Achievement Award from the Indiana Ready Mix Concrete Association for the Lawton Skatepark development.  Also received the  Outstanding Special Award from IPRA for the Kaleidoscope blown glass showcase at the Botanical Conservatory.  
  • Created a Greenway/Community Trails Manager position to take responsibility for the Rivergreenway and coordinate with other area organizations in trail development.  


2005 Exciting News
  • PBS Channel 39 produced and aired a 1-hour documentary of the Lifetime Sports Academy.  
  • Celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Parks and Recreation Department with special events and $1 admissions scheduled throughout the year. The Three Rivers Festival honored the occasion with the parade theme, “A Century of Fun.”
  • Director Dianne Hoover resigned in February. Dave Ridderheim(February-September) and Perry Ehresman (October)served as interim directors until Al Moll officially took the position in late October. 
  • Passed $10 million general obligation bond for park improvements. 
  • Began reconstruction of the sunken gardens at Lakeside Park.   
  • Planted 240 trees in Kreager, McMillen, Foster West, Weisser and Tillman Parks as part of the 2005 Great Tree Canopy Comeback. 
  • Buckner Park Development Committee submitted recommendations for the future development of  Buckner Park.
  • Completed plaza and sidewalk renovations at Freimann Square. 
  • Foellinger Theatre improvements in 2005 included paving the parking lot, construction of a new restroom/concession building and plaza, and landscaping around the entrance. 
  • Renovation of the old barn at Salomon Farm was completed. 
  • McMillen Ice Arena hosted the 2005 International Silver Stick Regional Hockey Tournament, accommodating nearly 80 teams vying for international recognition. 
  • Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo celebrated its 40th anniversary with special events throughout the summer, including naming the endangered species carousel in memory of Earl B. Wells, the zoo’s founding director and leader for over 30 years. 
  • Entered into a management agreement with the Fort Wayne Zoological Society for operation of the Children's Zoo.
  • The Conservateer volunteer program at the Botanical Conservatory was dissolved. 


2006 Exciting News
  • Psi Ote Upper pavilion renovated
  • Completed reconstruction of Lakeside Park's sunken gardens.
  • Celebrated the 60th Anniversary of Franke Park Day Camp.
  • Reprised youth programming at Cooper Center in Reservoir Park.
  • Completed the Oak Savanna at Buckner Park and contracted the design of phase I development.
  • The zoo's first baby orangutan, Dumadi, was born.
  • The zoo gift shop was doubled in size, completed remodeled and re-opened with a new name: Wild Things.
  • The zoo initiated a $7 million capital campaign (the largest in zoo history) to renovate the African Veldt in to African Journey.
  • McMillen Ice Arena hosted the USA Hockey Pee Wee Tier 2 National Championship Tournament and the Silver Stick International Qualifier Tournament.
  • Renovations at Salomon Farm Park included a new restroom building, a livestock shelter, parking lot improvements, a chicken coop, tool shed, and completion of the old barn.


2007 Exciting News
  • Celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Lifetime Sports Academy.
  • McMillen Ice Arena hosted the American Collegiate Hockey Associations Division 3 Championship and the Silver Stick Youth Hockey Tournament.
  • Renovated the Swinney Tennis Center and completed renovations of the pond in West Swinney Park.
  • Purchased new Rec Trac registration/reservation computer system.
  • Installed splash pads in Waynedale and McCormick Parks.
  • Constructed 1.8 mile multi-use trail at Salomon Farm Park.
  • Constructed new Carrington Field off Coliseum Blvd, next to Lakeside Golf Course.
  • Began construction on the Zoo’s new African Journey exhibit.


2008 Exciting News
  • Dedicated the Daryl B. Cobin Memorial Park, home of Carrington Field.
  • Began construction of Meyer Park at Parkview Field.
  • Children's Zoo receives accreditation by Associate of Zoos & Aquariums.
  • Department entered agreement with Canlan Ice Sports Corp for private operation of McMillen Ice Arena beginning in 2009.
  • Completed construction and dedicated new Japanese-style pavilion in Swinney Park.
  • Celebrated 50th anniversary of Shoaff Park Golf Course.
  • Initiated the Legacy Parks program to recognize parks that reach their 100th anniversary.
  • New maintenance building constructed at Shoaff Park Golf Course.
  • Restored bandstand at McCulloch Park.
  • Began phase I development in Buckner Park. Completed pavilion, playground, splash pad, parking lot.
  • Installed new playgrounds in McCormick and Lafayette Parks.
  • Received $1 million gift from Foellinger Foundation in commemoration of its 50th anniversary.


2009 Exciting News
  • African Journey exhibit opened at Children’s Zoo.  Exhibit set attendance record of 610,000 visitors.  This project was the largest improvement to the zoo in the 44 year history.
  • Dedicated development at Buckner Park and opened splash pad and open air pavilion.  This 1.6 million phased project on the 190 acre site provides a regional park experience.
  • Dedicated Robert E. Meyer Park at Parkview Field. The park contains a splash pad and a small amphitheatre surrounded by extensive landscaping.  The park was primarily funded from the estate of former Fort Wayne Mayor and Judge Robert E. Meyers via a gift to the Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation Department. 
  • Private donations and grants surpased $1 million.
  • Mayor Tom Henry appointed an ad-hoc tree commission to provide recommendations and evaluations to the Park Department's urban forestry program.
  • Department turned management of McMillen Ice Arena over to Canlan Ice Sports Corp.
  • Department was re-accredited by the Commission for the Accreditation of Parks & Recreation Agencies.
  • Swinney Pool closed due to budget constraints and under use.


2010 Exciting News
  • Professional Golfer John Daly kicked off the Lifetime Sports Academy’s 13thyear
  • Taylor’s Dream Boundless Playground wins $70,000 in on-line voting competition sponsored by CVS/Pharmacy and Pepsi Co
  • 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 


  • 35thAnniversary – Cooper Community Center 
  • Awards Recognizing Park Excellence 
  • Fort Wayne Newspapers 2010 Reader’s Picks 1stPlace 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 20thconsecutive 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


       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


  • 40th Anniversary-Freimann Square
  • 50thAnniversary-Swim and Dive Meet
  • 65thAnniversary- Franke Park Day Camp


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

100th Anniversary—Foster Park
35th Anniversary—Community Center
25th Anniversary—Lindenwood Nature Preserve
15th Anniversary—Lifetime Sports Academy



2013 Exciting News
• Legendary Group Chicago Headlines Foellinger Theatre Concert Season
• City Unveils McMillen Community Center Plans
• Annual $3 Million Allocation of Funds for Future Parks & Recreation Maintenance and Improvements

Awards Recognizing Park Excellence

• The non-profi t organization KaBOOM! named Fort Wayne a “2013 Playful City USA Community”

• The City of Fort Wayne named “Tree City USA” for the 23rd consecutive year

New Projects and Renovations

• Parks Master Plan
• Foellinger Theatre Seating Expansion Project
• McMillen Park Tennis Court Improvements
• Botanical Conservatory Glass Replacement Project
• Franke and Lakeside Park Pond Bank Stabilization Projects
• Jennings Center Roof Improvements
• Kreager Park Boundless Playground Improvements


• 85th Anniversary—Foster Park Golf Course
• 55th Anniversary—Shoaff Park Golf Course
• 50th Anniversary—McMillen Park Golf Course
• 35th Anniversary—Senior Games
• 30th Anniversary—Junor Golf Tour
• 15th Anniversary—Weisser Youth Center


2014 Exciting News

Foellinger Theatre Concert Season was a huge success with Foreigner, REO Speedwagon, Styx and The Beach Boys selling out.
The Old Barn rentals for weddings and parties have become Salomon Farm’s greatest revenue stream and help make Salomon self-sufficient without tax-payer funding.
Fort Wayne was designated a Birdtown Indiana by Indiana Audubon Society.

Awards Recognizing Park Excellence

  • Re-accreditation by the CAPRA Board of the National Recreation and Park Association
  • The National League of Cities recognized Mayor Tom Henry and the City of Fort Wayne for completing the key health and wellness goals for Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties
  • McMillen Park Community Center project chosen for 2014 Awards of Excellence from the Indiana Park and Recreation Association
  • Downtown Improvement District award for an outstanding commitment to Downtown Fort Wayne
  • Northeast Indiana Trail Riders Organization Corporate Supporter Award
  • The non-profit organization KaBOOM! named Fort Wayne a “2014 Playful City USA Community” for the 5th consecutive year
  • City of Fort Wayne named “Tree City USA” for 24th consecutive year

New Projects and Renovations

  • Lakeside Park Pond Bank Stabilization Improvements
  • Justin Study Park Basketball Court Improvement
  • Robert E. Meyers Park New Bloom Sculpture
  • Foellinger Theatre Structural & Bleacher Improvements
  • Foster Park Wedding Gazebo Improvements
  • McMillen Park Community Center Renovation & Indoor Playground
  • Bob Arnold Northside Park Aquatic Center Improvements
  • McMillen & Lakeside Parks New Water Well Installation
  • Freimann Square Anthony Wayne Monument & Site Improvements 


2015 Exciting News
• Foellinger Theatre attendance approached 50,000, up 35%, with revenues over $1.7 million.
• Camp Canine, the City’s second dog park, opened in July.
• The Department celebrated “110 Years of Family Fun” with a free, community party.
* LSA Sponsors 1st Tee Golf Program in 34 FWCS elementary schools.
* FootGolf Course opened at McMillen Park.

Awards Recognizing Park Excellence  
Taylor’s Dream was voted 21st of the 50 best playgrounds by Early Childhood Education Zone.  
The Rivergreenway was chosen as #2 in the “Best Trail” category in the “Best of Indiana” contest sponsored by Visit Indiana.  
The Old Fort received an ARCHie award for compatible new construction for the rebuilding of the Blacksmith Shop.  
The non-profit organization KaBOOM! named Fort Wayne a “2015 Playful City USA Community” for the 6th consecutive year.  
City of Fort Wayne named “Tree City USA” for 25th consecutive year.

New Projects and Renovations  
Franklin School Park Phase I Project  
Johnny Appleseed Dog Park Project  
Shoaff Park Tennis and Paving Improvements  
Freimann Square Bench and Lighting Improvements  
McMillen Community Center Concession Improvements  
Lions Park Playground and Pavilion Improvements  
Memorial Park Pavilion 1 Exterior Improvements  
Foellinger Theatre Beam, Seating, Sound and Rigging Improvements
Lafayette Park Shelter Improvements  
Packard Park Site Improvements
Solar Power Improvements at McMillen Park Community Center, Franklin School Park and Shoaff Park


2016 Exciting News

Parks & Recreation Department will oversee Riverfront Development Phase 1

Summer RiverCamp for youth begins new day camp program.

Awards Recognizing Park Excellence:

Salomon Farm Park and Farmers’ Market was inducted into the Green Lights Hall of Fame
Aquatic Safety Staff Received the Gold International Aquatic Safety Award for the 6th Time
The non-profit organization KaBOOM! named Fort Wayne a “2016 Playful City USA Community” for the 6th consecutive year.
City of Fort Wayne named “Tree City USA” for 26th consecutive year.

New Projects and Renovations

Franklin School Park Phase 1 - Site and Landscaping Improvements
Buckner Splash Pad Drainage Improvements
Lions Pickleball Improvements
Foellinger Theatre Tower Painting, Dock and Concrete Ramp Improvements
Salomon Homestead Demolition and Solar Parking Lot Lights
Northside Administration Roof Improvements
Franke and Shoaff Paving Improvements
Shoaff Park Entrance Sign
Klug Park Pathway and Sign Improvements
Johnny Appleseed Drainage Improvements
Community Center Parking Gate
McMillen Golf Maintenance Building Improvements
Franke Day Camp HVAC Improvements
Headwaters New Riverfront Dock


2017 Highlights 

Foster Park Golf Course celebrates 90 year anniversary; Shoaff Park Golf Course celebrates 60 years.
July 12, City Council approves Local Income Tax (LIT) , creating a revenue stream that will help pay for riverfront development and sidewalks/alley repairs. 
Dippin' Dogs event started at the end of the swimming season for Dog Park member dogs at Northside Pool.
David Hefner Pavilion opened at Franklin School Park.

Awards Recognizing Park Excellence:

Aquatic Safety Staff Received the Gold International Aquatic Safety Award for the 7th Time.
The non-profit organization KaBOOM! named Fort Wayne a “2017 Playful City USA Community” for the 8th consecutive year.
City of Fort Wayne named “Tree City USA” for 27th consecutive year and received Growth Award for 12th year.
First Place Fort Wayne Readers Choice Awards: Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, Foellinger Outdoor Theatre, Foster Park, Lakeside Park & Rose Garden and Franke Day Camp.

New Projects and Renovations

Northside Park Administrative Building Roof Improvements
Swinney Park Colonel Foster Monument Restoration
Klug Park New Walking Path and Entry Arch Improvements
Various Parks Bicentennial Bench Improvements
Roosevelt Park Pedestrian Boardwalk Improvements
Johnny Appleseed Fishing Pier Improvements
Memorial Park Splashpad Surfacing Improvements
Franke Park Foellinger Theatre Fence Improvements
Northside Park Administration Entrance and Sidewalk Improvements
Northside and McMillen Parks Pool Slide Improvements
Shoaff Park and McMillen Park Stone Entrance Signs
Franke, Foster, McMillen, Shoaff, Vesey Parks Paving Improvements
Botanical Conservatory Patio, Storm Gutters & Glass Roof Improvements
Franke Park Foellinger Theatre Stage Floor Improvements
Franklin Park Phase II Project
Franke Park Harris Road Barn Improvements
Department’s Five Year Master Plan Update





2018 Highlights

Awards Recognizing Park Excellence

  • Community Unity-Neighborhood Family Fun Nights was recognized at the 2018 Summit on Out-of-School Learning as this program was one of five finalists in the Out-of-School Champions Showcase. Community Unity is a partnership between the Fort Wayne Police Department, Fort Wayne United and the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department.
  • Aquatic Safety Staff received the 2018 Platinum International Aquatics Safety Award for consistently and exceeding the criteria for aquatic safety. This award is presented by Jeff Ellis & Associates.
  • Franke Park Day Camp received the First Place Fort Wayne Reader’s Choice Award in the Camps category in the Fort Wayne Newspaper’s 2018 Reader’s Choice Awards.
  • Memorial Park’s Memorial Grove was given the 100 Cities/100 Memorials Award. The honor was a collaborative effort with the Allen County Council of Veteran’s Organizations and the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department.
  • The City of Fort Wayne was named "Tree City USA" for the 29th consecutive year and received a Growth Award for the 14th year from the National Arbor Day Foundation.

New Projects and Renovations

  • Foellinger Theatre Performer Area Improvements Project
  • Various Parks Paving Improvements (Salomon, Reservoir, Memorial)
  • Various Parks Playground Improvements (Camp Allen, Kreager, Hamilton, Lions, Johnny Appleseed)
  • Ivan Lebamoff Reservoir Park Pond Improvements
  • Ivan Lebamoff Reservoir Park Parking Lot Improvements
  • Salomon Farm Learning Center Expansion Project
  • Packard Park Futsall Court Improvements
  • Shoaff Park Restroom/Shelter Building
  • Franke Park Harris Road Police Canine Training Facility
  • Buckner Park Playground Safety Surfacing Improvement

2019 Highlights 

Awards Recognizing Park Excellence

  • Promenade Park’s visionary design and attention to detail made it the 2019 Project of the Year by Fort Wayne Magazine. Promenade Park is the first local development to receive this distinction.
  • The Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation Department’s Partner Officer Program received the Innovative Program Award during the Indiana Parks and Recreation Association (IPRA) Conference in French Lick.
  • Fort Wayne has been named a “Tree City USA” for the 29th year in a row. This designation--awarded by the Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters--was earned for the City of Fort Wayne’s tree canopy stewardship and continued commitment to a green city. Fort Wayne also earned their 14th Growth Award from the National Arbor Day Foundation for a higher standard of forestry management of the City’s 65,000 public trees.
  • Fort Wayne was renamed Bird Town Indiana by the Indiana Audubon Society.

New Projects and Renovations

  • Promenade Park (See photos at Riverfrontfw.org)
  • Salomon Farm Park Homestead Restoration
  • Botanical Conservatory Connector
  • Freimann Pool Liner Replacement
  • Franke Park Master Plan Finalized
  • Weisser Youth Center Roof Improvement
  • Community Center Multi-Purpose Floor
  • McMillen/Northside Pool Shade Structures
  • Guldlin Park Dock/Ramp Improvements
  • Foster Park Golf Course Cart Paths
  • Franke Park Spy Run Creek Streambank Restoration
  • Johnny Appleseed Restrooms 


2020 Highlights

Awards Recognizing Park Excellence

As the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department continues to celebrate the first year of Promenade Park, several awards recognized the park in 2020.

  • 2019 Project of the Year by Fort Wayne Magazine. Promenade Park is the first local development to receive this distinction.
  • 2020 Excellence in Construction award from the BCA (Building Contractors Association of Northeast Indiana) New Construction – Over $6 million
  • ASLA STL (American Society of Landscape Architects St. Louis) – Merit Award (2020) Design – Constructed Projects, Over $500,000 Construction Budget
  • ASLA IL (American Society of Landscape Architects Illinois) – Merit Award (2020) General Design – Constructed Projects
  • ASLA (American Society of Landscape Architects) Central States – Award of Excellence (2020) // (Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota) Design (Built) *Awarded to only one (1) project
  • INASLA (Indiana American Society of Landscape Architects) – Award of Excellence (2020) Design - Constructed Projects, Over $500,000 Construction Budget * Awarded to only one (1) project
  • Indiana ACEC (American Council of Engineering Companies) 2020 Engineering Excellence Honor Award
  • Honorable Mention in Cities category for Fast Company’s 2020 Innovation by Design Award 

Salomon Farm Park’s Old Barn was named the Best Historic Wedding Venue in Northern Indiana by LUXlife 2020 Global Wedding Awards.

Fort Wayne has been named a “Tree City USA” for the 30th year in a row. This designation--awarded by the Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters--was earned for the City of Fort Wayne’s tree canopy stewardship and continued commitment to a green city. Fort Wayne also earned their 15th Growth Award from the National Arbor Day Foundation for a higher standard of forestry management of the City’s 65,000 public trees. 

New Projects and Renovations

  • Conservatory Roof Replacement
  • McMillen Pavilion Renovations
  • McCulloch Pavilion Renovations
  • Northside & McMillen Aquatic Centers – Renovations
  • Kettler Pavilion Hardscape Improvements
  • Parks Paving (Lakeside, Northside, Johnny Appleseed)
  • Salomon Main Drive Paving & South End Drainage
  • Buckner Park LWCF Grant
  • Wells Street Bridge Grant Project
  • Thomas Property Acquisition (partial amount of purchase)
  • Memorial Park Trails 

2021 Highlights

Awards Recognizing Park Excellence

  • Promenade Park was recently named a winner of the 2021 Urban Land Institute (ULI) Americas Awards for Excellence. Winning projects include 10 from the United States and two from Canada, and represent the highest standards of achievement in the land use profession.
  • Promenade Park was a Finalist in the GLOBAL Awards for Excellence from the Urban Land Institute for 2021.
  • The 2021 AIA Indiana Design Honor Award was given to Promenade Park.
  • Promenade Park also won the Architizer A+ Awards for People’s Choice in 2021.
  • The Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation Department was honored with two 2020 IPRA Awards of Excellence during an Indiana Park and Recreation Association event on November 4, 2021. The department’s Confluence Kitchen program received the Inclusive Program Award and Community Center Manager Patti Davis was recognized as the IPRA Outstanding Professional of the Year.
  • In the Fort Wayne Newspaper’s 2021 Reader’s Choice Awards! Johnny Appleseed Festival was chosen as the Best Community Festival, Promenade Park was the Best Park, and the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo won in four categories (Best Children's Entertainment, Best City Attraction, Best Family Friendly Event and Best Local Attraction).
  • The Fort Wayne Children's Zoo won in two categories (Best All Year Fun and Best Summer "Must Do" Bucket List) of the 2021 Hoosier Choice Awards.
  • Fort Wayne has been named a “Tree City USA” for the 31st year in a row. This designation--awarded by the Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters--was earned for the City of Fort Wayne’s tree canopy stewardship and continued commitment to a green city. Fort Wayne also earned their 16th Growth Award from the National Arbor Day Foundation for a higher standard of forestry management of the City’s 65,000 public trees.

New Projects and Renovations

  •              Franke Park Renaissance Design Plan
  •              ADA Improvements at Northside, Kreager, Cooper Center
  •              Botanical Conservatory Megaflora Art Installation
  •              Kettler Park Open-Air Pavilion Renovation
  •              McMillen Park Golf Course Golf Cart Paths Replacement
  •              Memorial Park Allen Co. Veterans Memorial Monument Relocation
  •              Promenade Park Playground Restroom Building Addition
  •              Weisser Park Playground Replacement
  •              Youth Centers Kitchen Improvements Including New Appliances



Highlights of 2022

  • 30 New Pickleball Courts: Celebrated the addition of 30 new pickleball courts in five City parks. This $180,881.00 project resurfaced and converted courts at Foster, Lakeside, Hamilton and Kettler Parks and restriped courts at Tillman Park. The additional courts accommodate the increasing local interest in a growing sport with fans of all ages. The new courts join existing courts at McMillen, Lions and Waynedale Parks for a total of 36 outdoor and six indoor courts.
  • Parks Celebrates 75 Years of Franke Park Day Camp: Marked the 75th anniversary of Franke Park Day Camp with a special public open house. The festivities featured opportunities for guests to take a guided hike to Bullet Hill, experience Singing Tree, appear in a commemorative photo taken with a drone, enjoy special giveaways (while supplies lasted), buy a 75th Anniversary t-shirt and revel in a ceremony packed with fun facts about the longest running children’s program within the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department.
  • The program continues to be a family tradition with former campers sending their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren to experience the adventures, camaraderie and outdoor education. Franke Park Day Camp was sold out for the summer of 2022.
  • Basketball Court Enhancements and Colorful Mural Revealed: Announced completion of a public private partnership to resurface and enhance two basketball courts in Ivan Lebamoff Reservoir Park. The surface of the courts features a vibrant thematic mural installed by local artist Andre Portee. The $30,000 project also includes new backboards, painted rims and new benches. It is funded by Fort Financial Credit Union with resurfacing and new striping by Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation and with support from the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.
  • Riverfront Fort Wayne Partnership with KultureCity: KultureCity has partnered with Riverfront Fort Wayne to make Promenade Park and all of the programs and events that the venue hosts to be sensory inclusive. This new initiative will promote an accommodating and positive experience for all guests and fans with a sensory issue who visit Riverfront Fort Wayne.
  • Fort Wayne Parks restoration of Pavilion 3 in Foster Park: Completed a multi-year effort to historically restore the 1930’s era rustic stone and timber open-air picnic shelter and the surrounding Oak Grove recreational site. This public-private partnership with Friends of the Park of Allen County and South West Area Partnership brings new life and opportunity for reengagement with a little-known section of Foster Park.
  • Historic 19th Century Wells Street Bridge Project Completed: Revealed the replacement of all decorative knee portal components in the truss of the historic 19th century Wells Street Bridge at Promenade Park. The completion of the $131,405 bridge project is significant as it is one of only a few examples of a truss bridge of the 1880s era that still survives. This project was funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior and the National Park Service’s Historic Preservation Fund Program and is being administered by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology.
  • Tree City USA Award: The National Arbor Day Foundation awarded the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department with its 32nd consecutive Tree City USA designation. The Parks Department announced that the city received the Growth Award for the 17th consecutive year, which highlights innovative programs and projects and demonstrates an increased commitment of resources for urban forestry.

New Projects and Renovations:

  • Conservatory Roof Replacement
  • Community Center parking lot paving
  • Foellinger Theatre entrance sidewalk and drainage improvements
  • Jennings Center playground structure replacement, landscape improvements
  • Kreager Park Taylor’s Dream playground safety surface replacement
  • McMillen Park Golf Course cart paths paving
  • Freimann Square Anthony Wayne and Swinney Park General Foster Monument cleaning and waxing
  • Freimann Square installation of four chess tables
  • Salomon Farm Park Old Barn siding improvements and painting








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