Friends of the River press release and contract

Allen County Board of Commissioners Seal

Last Friday, the Allen County Board of Commissioners entered a contract with Invent Tomorrow to provide a grant to the newly formed “Friends of the Rivers”.

Press release:

Commissioners Chip In to Help “Friends of the Rivers”
Funding to help with development, promotion of rivers in Allen County

(June 4, 2010) – The Allen County Board of Commissioners today agreed to help fund an initiative aimed at enhancing and encouraging the use of the rivers in the county.

By a unanimous vote, the Commissioners agreed to grant the local civic organization “Invent Tomorrow” a total of $75,000 over the next three years. It will be paid out in annual installments of $25,000 and must be approved by the Commissioners each year.

“Invent Tomorrow” will use the money to fund the activities of a pilot program called “Friends of the Rivers.” The program has established a work list which outlines objectives and goals for each of the three years. For example, work during the first year includes preparation work and support for two river-related events, the removal of navigation hazards such as large rocks and sunken logs, and opening viewing vistas. “Invent Tomorrow” is to prepare and submit to the Commissioners an annual report detailing how the County funds were used.

“It’s important that we encourage the development of the county’s rivers as a prominent feature of our community,” said Commissioner Bill Brown.

Download the contract here.

The last three pages are the work list which lays out the work to be accomplished over the three year contract:

Year One (fall/winter/spring 2010-11) ($25,000)

Prep work/support for river events

  • William Wells Weekend with Wells Corridor Business Assoc. ($1,500)
  • Harvest Moon Walk ($3,000)

Remove navigation hazards

  • Large rocks – Johnny Appleseed boat ramp ($2,500)
  • Bend @ Stevie’s Island ($1,500)
  • Sandbar Stevie’s Island ($1,500)
  • Smalls Falls ($1,000)
  • Sunken logs – continuous work ($1,000)

Open viewing vistas – street level to river/river to city skyline

  • Filtration Plant – work with City/Parks Dept. ($2,000)
  • Spy Run Extended – Three vistas ($2,500)
  • Circle of Hope Greenway – Four vistas ($2,500)
  • Guildlin Park – One vista ($1,500)
  • Theime Dr. – One vista ($1,500)

Begin research on creating an overlook at Sacred Rock on the Maumee River. Also, begin work on creating a canoe/kayak launch and take-out site just downstream of Bull Rapids on the Maumee River.

Equipment, materials, supplies for 3 year pilot program. ($3,000)

Year Two (2011) ($25,000)

Channel Markers

  • Upper St. Joseph River around the Spencerville Dam. ($1,000)
  • Center channel markers for the Leo/Cedarville area of the St. Joseph River. ($2,000)
  • Guildlin Bend St. Mary’s River ($1,000)
  • Stevie’s Island St. Joseph River ($1,000)
  • Sunset Bay St. Joseph River ($1,000)
  • Three Rivers Apt. St. Mary’s River ($1,000)
  • Sweeney Park gabions St. Mary’s River ($1,000)

Improve boat ramp at Shoaff Park to DNR standards (State)

  • Signage (City)
  • River level & Street level
  • Location
  • History
  • Blueway/Greenway
  • Mile markers from confluence

Education ($6,000)

  • Boat ramp locations
  • Guide for cruising rivers
  • Water cautions and Positives about the rivers ie. Fishing, Boating, Nature
  • Work with ACPWQ (Radio – Utility Bill Stuffers)

Remove collected trash from banks ($2,500)

Remove log jams from bridges (work with County and DNR) (Paid work)

Clean Spy Run mouth log jams ($2,500)

Repair Bloomingdale Overlook ($3,500)

Re-plant and water round planters along St. Joe Blvd. ($2,500)

Continue outreach to connect to the energy of other groups working to enhance, preserve, protect, and foster the vitality of the rivers for the environment, residents, and wildlife in unincorporated Allen County.

Year Three (2012) ($25,000)

Create new overlook

  • North end of Headwaters Park ($5,000)

New kayak/canoe launch sites

  • Traders Point St. Mary’s River($10,000)

Cease mowing; introduce appropriate wet-tolerant native grasses, elevated boardwalk to river edge

  • Build jetty for kayak/canoe launch

East Sweeney east bank St. Mary’s River ($5,000)

Foster Park and upstream of Foster Park St. Mary’s River ($5,000)

Portage around St. Joseph Dam (City)

Blueway river trails (City – Greenway Consortium)

Navigation lights on bridges (City)

Homeless sweeps (City)

Continue outreach to connect to the energy of other groups working to enhance, preserve, protect, and foster the vitality of the rivers for the environment, residents, and wildlife in unincorporated Allen County.

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  1. It would be nice to see the City of Fort Wayne’s next major project focusing on the rivers. Sooner or later we need to start putting together a long term plan for promenades. This would no doubt be a very costly task, but I believe this would be a super-catalyst to riverfront development.


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