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

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

Post by Hotbox » Fri Jul 17, 2020 11:16 am

Steve Bryan wrote:
Thu Jul 16, 2020 7:26 am
you are no better off now than what you were before the project was announced.
It would be funny if all the City's stubbornness at North River was due to reluctance for re-installation of grade crossings at Sherman, Wells, Harrison, and 4th Streets.

Well, I guess they acquired control of that aspect, quite handily.
Last edited by Hotbox on Fri Jul 17, 2020 4:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by Hotbox » Fri Jul 17, 2020 4:34 pm

Now that Aunt Millies is no longer baking bread downtown, I wonder if you guys could get the use of their old siding as a tour embarkation point? With the Landing set to redevelopment, that might be a hot ticket? Location, Location, Location!! :twisted:

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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 Jul 21, 2020 9:13 am

Hotbox wrote:
Fri Jul 17, 2020 4:34 pm
Now that Aunt Millies is no longer baking bread downtown, I wonder if you guys could get the use of their old siding as a tour embarkation point? With the Landing set to redevelopment, that might be a hot ticket? Location, Location, Location!! :twisted:
They're not interested in selling those parcels 8) They're generating income leasing property to adjoining owners and the city.
Hotbox wrote:
Fri Jul 17, 2020 11:16 am

It would be funny if all the City's stubbornness at North River was due to reluctance for re-installation of grade crossings at Sherman, Wells, Harrison, and 4th Streets.

Well, I guess they acquired control of that aspect, quite handily.
Very few, if any, conversations revolved around grade crossings or concerns therein. Some staff actually floated the idea of street running/streetcar tracks on St. Marys or Burgress to connect to the Zoo.
Kelly Lynch
Vice President
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 Hotbox » Sat Aug 29, 2020 12:26 pm

Well, since the forum has been nearly dormant, I don't feel so bad steering this discussion onto a tangent. Any discussion being better than none.

Does the FWRHS sincerely believe that the narrow guage excursion operations to the zoo will have a sustained patronage? I mean, I hope that it would, but just being honest I really have my doubts.

My concern being that it would be popular for 2-3 years, and after the novelty wears off, becoming dependent upon out of town visitors for the bulk of it's patronage. People in Ft Wayne being so.....thrifty. It just seems ripe to become one of those venues where you reach the point where the revenue does not justify the cost of maintaining it. I recall my grandmother, who co-owned one of the old local cigar manufacturing operations, saying of Fort Wayne..."offer to give it away, and you'll be swamped with business, charge a nickel, and nobody shows"

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

Post by nathansixchime » Sat Aug 29, 2020 12:47 pm

Hotbox wrote:
Sat Aug 29, 2020 12:26 pm
Does the FWRHS sincerely believe that the narrow guage excursion operations to the zoo will have a sustained patronage?
Important to keep in mind that in the years that this project has been gestating, nothing has been taken lightly or discussed frivolously.

Not only did we perform studies, comparisons, analysis and author a business plan with phases and contingencies, but we learned that the little train at the Zoo train has over 100,000 riders each year all by itself...and it just goes in a circle. Our business plan (based on the 2016 HWJ study) estimated 61,849 riders, which is just 10% of the Zoo's 2015 attendance.
Hotbox wrote:
Sat Aug 29, 2020 12:26 pm
My concern being that it would be popular for 2-3 years, and after the novelty wears off, becoming dependent upon out of town visitors for the bulk of it's patronage.
Depending solely on the immediate population would be a mistake, and the Zoo is a great example of a regional destination that appeals far beyond the immediate area. It continues to break its own attendance records (notwithstanding pandemics, of course.)
"During the 2019 season, about 600,000 people walked through the main gates on Sherman Boulevard. That’s up 2.9% from last year’s attendance numbers."

To put that in perspective, the City of Fort Wayne’s population sits around 270,000.
LINK: https://wpta21.com/2019/10/29/fort-wayn ... -problems/

The Zoo is a great example of a destination that is multi-faceted, appeals to a broad range of demographics, and offers something for families. While I can't say we're planning a locomotive petting zoo, the feasibility study concluded:

Primary metro market zoos in the United States often exceed one million annual visits, including Indianapolis. Fort Wayne’s population and Allen County’s population would indicate that its visitation basis compared against local population is actually significantly higher than Indianapolis, indicating not only quality, but the ability to draw beyond the local county boundary. Zoo attendance is a reasonably good leading indicator of railroad attraction interest, as both market to essentially the same family groups and depend on events to develop repeat annual visits...Overall, the existing family attraction/museum market in the Fort Wayne area – compared to other proposed rail theme attractions – is strong on an existing, let alone a projected, basis. The ability of the community to support sufficient interest and visitation for critical mass appears viable when similar visitation and attendance statistics can be contrasted to existing railroad attraction locations.


What develops at North River will have some degree of impact on whether we reach the Zoo that way, and the narrow-gauge solution was only developed as a compromise in order to occupy roughly the same right-of-way area as the trail. (We even went so far as to work with City Utilities to have engineering studies done for the new bridge over State Street.) The City has suggested another option as part of the expansion of Franke Park and the Zoo and I think it has more promise.
Kelly Lynch
Vice President
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 Hotbox » Sat Aug 29, 2020 12:59 pm

nathansixchime wrote:
Sat Aug 29, 2020 12:47 pm
The City has suggested another option as part of the expansion of Franke Park and the Zoo and I think it has more promise.
Thanks for your detailed reply. If that alternate route encompasses coming in through the "Gateway" area, I think that is a better option
I've heard some mention that the soil can be pretty spongy out that way.

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

Post by nathansixchime » Sun Aug 30, 2020 3:36 pm

My pleasure. I should also note that HWJ has a growing list of advisors who have worked in the Class 1, regional, and tourist railroad industries for 40+ years, including perspectives from Indiana Railroad, Norfolk Southern, among others.
Kelly Lynch
Vice President
Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society
http://www.fortwaynerailroad.org

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