Can anybody explain the city of Fort Wayne's lack of interest in Headwater's Junction?

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Re: Can anybody explain the city of Fort Wayne's lack of interest in Headwater's Junction?

Post by nathansixchime » Mon Mar 09, 2020 2:36 pm

Well, we were the only group to step forward with a joint proposal for North River with Continental Property Group when the City opened up the RFPs.
Before that, we were looking to partner with Junior Achievement, but those plans never became public. No blinders here!

And agree on Nebraska. A lot of potential there and based on our meeting with the Mayor and City Staff two weeks ago, they see it too! Only slightly amusing that the original "fallback" or bridesmaid location in 2013 is now the principle site in question...
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Re: Can anybody explain the city of Fort Wayne's lack of interest in Headwater's Junction?

Post by Bob Durnell » Mon Mar 09, 2020 7:49 pm

Kelly, do you have any renderings of what a West Wayne Project would look like? I'm just not seeing this as great alternative. While it would solve a lot of problems, it just seems too out of the way to me. It seems almost like a repeat of Casad. You're only going to find it if you are looking for it. I was so much hoping for a location that could not be ignored, IE, thousands of cars going by it every day.
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Re: Can anybody explain the city of Fort Wayne's lack of interest in Headwater's Junction?

Post by nathansixchime » Mon Mar 09, 2020 9:17 pm

Yep, it’s the last rendering here, made in 2013:
https://headwatersjunction.com/tour/

We have a newer one that shows the project’s relationship to neighborhood development but that probably won’t be made public until later this year.
3237D810-D508-4420-83A5-8B752527AB2F.jpeg
The only reason West Wayne is obscure is because there’s nothing to speak of there now. Some signage at Sherman and West Main (where there are used car lots), the railroad connecting to riverfront, and Phase 3 of riverfront reaching Sherman on the East and West Main Street development at the West will help dissolve the obscurity of this location.

It’s always one I’ve been fond of because it can be it’s own thing there, and of course historically it was the real deal. We don’t even own any track or have a yard at Casad and an industrial park next to the state line is a much different animal than being a major attraction in a neighborhood across the river from downtown. One could argue the Zoo’s location is the opposite of prominent, too. Nothing would beat Clinton Street, but the positioning necessary to locate there has played out and we’ll never compete against a corporate HQ, a hospital, an arena, etc. That’s just the sober truth.

It’ll all make an interesting book some day...
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Re: Can anybody explain the city of Fort Wayne's lack of interest in Headwater's Junction?

Post by Bob Durnell » Mon Mar 09, 2020 9:58 pm

I guess one of my concerns would be whether HJ can survive economically until the rest of the development catches up to it, and how much being out of short walking distance from the heart of the activity will hurt. You mentioned the Zoo, and I'll bet the City wishes it WAS downtown, NOW. Remember we tore down a perfectly good baseball stadium to move closer to the action, and now they want to build an arena that will effectively turn the Coliseum into little more than a trade show and exhibition center, just to be closer to downtown. I really have to fault the city leaders for lack of vision on this project. Given the chance to do something truly unique and attention worthy, they are hellbent on on a strategy that wastes valuable high visibility property with projects that don't warrant it or need it. Headwater's Junction has the ability to grab attention and draw in people in a way that very few projects can, and would have been a fantastic magnet to draw attention to North River. I don't understand why some people seem to see this as an either-or, when in reality, it could be BOTH.
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Re: Can anybody explain the city of Fort Wayne's lack of interest in Headwater's Junction?

Post by rrnut282 » Mon Mar 16, 2020 3:52 pm

Never forget tax revenue when talking to politicians. What would bring in more of other peoples' money they can pocket, I mean, spend, a shiny HQ Building or a park-like rail museum site?

I know NS would not be interested in sharing the R/W, but I can envision the trolley line circulating to a spot downtown to add visibility. Science Central would be a second choice destination.
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Re: Can anybody explain the city of Fort Wayne's lack of interest in Headwater's Junction?

Post by Bob Durnell » Mon Mar 16, 2020 8:18 pm

Well as I have said, I don't see what this has to be an either-or situation. There is no reason the city and everyone else can't get what they want. It's just the reality that nearly all of those other projects aren't as location specific as Headwater's Junction is. Nobody really cares where a hospital or an arena or an office building goes, if people want or need what those venues have to offer, they will go to them. Headwater's Junction is more demanding because of the necessity of a rail connection and the fact that tourist attractions, especially non-traditional ones really call out for more visible locations. I'm not a big fan of the city acquiring North River in the first place, especially under the terms and obligations involved, but that fact is that they DID acquire it, and I for one don't think it should all be wasted on "more of the same". To me, Headwater's Junction is a VASTLY better fit for what the "stated" objectives of riverfront development were than most of the other options being put out there. Of course then there is the fact that nobody else seems to be knocking down the door to make a proposal. What's a bigger a drain on the city, developing only a part of the land for now and getting some immediate return, or having it sit empty with no return at all?
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Re: Can anybody explain the city of Fort Wayne's lack of interest in Headwater's Junction?

Post by Hotbox » Tue Mar 17, 2020 10:07 am

rrnut282 wrote:
Mon Mar 16, 2020 3:52 pm
I can envision the trolley line circulating to a spot downtown to add visibility.
And don't forget Pedal City, they've been catching on quite well down there on west Main street. I'm sure that you could arrange a stop and circuit over at West Wayne and get some true synergy going.

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Re: Can anybody explain the city of Fort Wayne's lack of interest in Headwater's Junction?

Post by nathansixchime » Tue Mar 17, 2020 10:28 am

Yep, we've briefly touched on a circulating streetcar route. Was also part of the original Headwaters State Park plan from the 80s. There's merit and plenty of great precedents (Kenosha, Tampa, etc...) and the City understands that much of the "cost" of something like that is greatly helped by there already being an operator with equipment waiting in the wings. Time will tell how expansive the scope gets, but I envision a future where it's stupid-easy to get around, without getting in your car, especially as urban infill development continues.
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Re: Can anybody explain the city of Fort Wayne's lack of interest in Headwater's Junction?

Post by Hotbox » Tue Mar 17, 2020 11:18 am

I can see where a lot of good might eventually come of this. Even the most optimistic projections I've seen for the riverfront development project seems to set it's boundry at Van Buren street, with only a wistful mention that "someday" it could extend to Swinney Park.
The West Wayne location for HWJ could be just the catalyst to fill in the gap between the two (contemplating the foot bridge on Mechanic street).utilizing the proximity to Osage street. I'm sure the owner of Redwood Inn would like to make that a reality as well.

And once Swinney Park is in the bag, it's just a hop skip and a jump to Electric Works. This could really end up better than anyone could have planned

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Re: Can anybody explain the city of Fort Wayne's lack of interest in Headwater's Junction?

Post by Bob Durnell » Wed Jul 15, 2020 3:25 pm

I see there has been recent news about progress on Headwaters Junction, but by the nature of the way the news report was written, I really couldn't make heads or tails about what it really means, except that it appears the final nail has been driven in the coffin of the North River location, which saddens and infuriates me at the same time. It sounds like plans are moving ahead for the "alternate location", which I assume to be West Wayne. I wish I could get more excited about that location, but it may be the best option left. I'm just afraid that much like Casad, if you don't know it's there, you'll never know its there. Perhaps Kelly can shed some light on what this latest news actually means.
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Re: Can anybody explain the city of Fort Wayne's lack of interest in Headwater's Junction?

Post by nathansixchime » Wed Jul 15, 2020 4:43 pm

Bob Durnell wrote:
Wed Jul 15, 2020 3:25 pm
wish I could get more excited about that location, but it may be the best option left. I'm just afraid that much like Casad, if you don't know it's there, you'll never know its there
I've come to realize the same thing about the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo. It's not located along any major thoroughfare and its main entrance is inside a city park, but everybody knows where it's at. It's had years to do that, but it's not insurmountable, either.

The lack of visibility for Osage/Burgress is that there isn't anything to speak of there right now, which would inevitably change with a Parkview Field-style redevelopment where there would be something there to speak of. Given the proximity to Phase 3 and West Main Street's growth, I'm pretty comfortable with the idea that HWJ could be the bridge between them...

West Wayne would also afford a number of things to the project that no other location offers, especially in terms of flexibility, competition, and overall site control. There's a degree of comfortable breathing room and insulation that you get in exchange for immediate visibility.

Fort Wayne Business Weekly has a pretty good summary of things here: https://www.fwbusiness.com/news/article ... bd70a.html

After our February presentation to the Mayor and heads of City Planning and Redevelopment, the project was greeted enthusiastically, to say the least, and the City is now on record in its own statements as being committed supporters to the project. http://www.fwcommunitydevelopment.org/n ... t-projects. We just had to find some common ground. Literally.

I look forward to seeing how that partnership expands in the coming months.
Kelly Lynch
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Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society
http://www.fortwaynerailroad.org

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Re: Can anybody explain the city of Fort Wayne's lack of interest in Headwater's Junction?

Post by D.L. » Wed Jul 15, 2020 5:29 pm

:idea: W.Wayne isn't a "superfund" site-so its definitely an improvement over the ole Omni Source dump.

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Re: Can anybody explain the city of Fort Wayne's lack of interest in Headwater's Junction?

Post by nathansixchime » Wed Jul 15, 2020 5:54 pm

Haha, well...I'm sure those cinders on the ground could tell some stories :shock:
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Re: Can anybody explain the city of Fort Wayne's lack of interest in Headwater's Junction?

Post by Steve Bryan » Thu Jul 16, 2020 7:26 am

Kelly, as I see it, the transfer of the purchase agreement for the old railroad ROW only gets HJ goodwill from the city. If NS got $520K for the old ROW, what do they want for the West Wayne property? Unless there is some yet to be announced help from the city in procuring the land, you are no better off now than what you were before the project was announced.

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Re: Can anybody explain the city of Fort Wayne's lack of interest in Headwater's Junction?

Post by nathansixchime » Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:19 am

Steve Bryan wrote:
Thu Jul 16, 2020 7:26 am
Kelly, as I see it, the transfer of the purchase agreement for the old railroad ROW only gets HJ goodwill from the city.
110%.

Here's today's endorsement from the Journal Gazette:
https://journalgazette.net/opinion/2020 ... dGMW5pfUCI

“I want to thank the Headwaters Junction Board of Directors for transferring the purchase agreement to the Redevelopment Commission and I look forward to working with them as they bring their vision of creating a vibrant regional destination to life,” Redevelopment Commission Director Nancy Townsend said in a news release.

“Vibrant regional destination” is a good description for the project, which includes a 1940s-era roundhouse, interpretive center and an excursion railroad to host the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society’s popular Santa train and other seasonal events. Wherever it lands, it’s likely to draw visitors of all ages from near and far. The society’s Nickel Plate Road steam locomotive No. 765 draws crowds on every trip.

We’re still holding out hopes for a route from the roundhouse to the riverfront because Promenade Park proves visitors want things to do, not just a passive experience. You’ll find kids and adults splashing in the Doermer Kids Canal almost any time. You’ll see kayaks and paddleboards drifting from the launch site near Fort Wayne Outfitters. And while it is dry-docked this season, the Sweet Breeze carried boatloads of riverfront enthusiasts last year.

Adding the option of a ride on a historic locomotive would create a powerful draw to downtown and the riverfront someday.

But we’ll be patient – Parkview Field taught us good things come to those who wait.
Kelly Lynch
Vice President
Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society
http://www.fortwaynerailroad.org

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