John Oldenkamp addresses the press conference.  Courtesy photo.

Press release from Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation:

Foster Park Improvements Unveiled

(August 23, 2010) – Mayor Tom Henry and Parks & Recreation Director Al Moll announced the completion of the Foster Park Pavilion #1 renovation project today. Friends of the Parks and park advocates attended to view the improvements and to express their appreciation to John Oldenkamp and his late wife Julia for providing the matching gift donation that made it possible to begin work on the pavilion.

“Thanks to the generosity of the Oldenkamps, Friends of the Parks and so many others, we have been able to restore this treasure in one of Fort Wayne’s most beloved parks,” said Mayor Henry. “Our City’s parks reflect the remarkable history of these spaces but also stay current with relevant programs and facilities. All of this plays a significant part in Fort Wayne’s incomparable quality of life. May today’s dedication be the start of more wonderful improvements to come at Foster Park.”

The improvements to Pavilion #1, based on recommendations from the 2007 Foster Park Cultural Landscape Report, included replacing the roof and several concrete columns, repairing the interior framing, removing all of the exterior cement stucco finish and repainting the entire building.

“These improvements are just icing on the cake,” said Director Moll. “The real story here is how two citizens stepped up and started this grass roots effort. Now we’re on a quest for matching funds to keep this park growing and thriving.”

John Oldenkamp donated $250,000 to the Friends of the Parks of Allen County, Inc. with the understanding that as matching funds become available, other projects from the Cultural Landscape Report would be undertaken. As an example, the plans call for a shared bike and pedestrian trail along Main Park Drive , which will separate pedestrian and bike traffic from vehicular traffic, improving the safety and overall park experience for all users.

“I’m delighted that we’re getting the pavilion taken care of. I have a warm spot in my heart for Foster Park,” said Oldenkamp. “I encourage citizens to step up and donate to this beautiful park.”

Everyone is encouraged to follow the invitation of John Oldenkamp and donate to the improvement of Foster Park, which will be 100 years years old and a Legacy Park, in 2012.

The Friends of the Parks is an independent organization which promotes the stewardship and celebration of the scenic, historic, and recreational resources of the parks and public spaces in Fort Wayne and Allen County. The Friends partner with the Parks and Recreation Department to plan and implement park improvements related to Cultural Landscape Reports, including this pavilion, the pavilion in Swinney Park and planting trees through the annual Great Tree Canopy Comeback.

Checks may be sent to the Friends of the Parks of Allen County, Inc., PO Box 10152, Fort Wayne, IN 46850 or the Fort Wayne Park Foundation, 705 E. State Blvd., Fort Wayne, IN 46805. For more information and to see the Foster Park CLR, visit www.fortwayneparks.org.

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