Colonial Heritage Wetlands project unveiled

Colonial Heritage Wetlands
Rendering provided by the City of Fort Wayne for the Colonial Heritage Wetlands project on May 26, 2021.

Webmaster’s note: The City was to have held a groundbreaking for the phase 3 of the Hessen Cassel stormwater improvement project which would see the construction of the Colonial Heritage Wetlands project on the southeast side of Fort Wayne. The weather, however, had other plans. Instead, a news conference was held downtown at Citizens Square.

Protecting Neighborhoods, Watersheds, Rivers
Groundbreaking a Fitting Tribute to American Wetlands Month

Fort Wayne, Indiana (May 26, 2021) – The third phase of the Hessen Cassel stormwater improvement project to protect homes in the Colonial Heritage and Tucker Court neighborhoods and the Maumee River is underway.

Today, Mayor Tom Henry joined neighborhood leaders, representatives from the Great Lakes Commission, the Department of Natural Resources, and City Utilities’ staff to break ground for a wetland expansion. (Read the above note)

“The investments we’re making in neighborhoods are critical to Fort Wayne’s current and future success, and enhancements to stormwater services help our neighborhoods grow and thrive,” said Mayor Henry. “I’m encouraged by the numerous infrastructure improvements occurring throughout the community, including several in southeast Fort Wayne. Having a wetlands component and a trail as part of this particular project are great additions and continue our commitment to quality of life amenities for residents, neighborhoods, and businesses to enjoy.”

Hessen Cassel Phase 3 features the installation of a two-stage ditch, along with a bioswale, and a significant expansion of the Colonial Heritage wetlands that will include a walking trail.

The wetlands protect local waterways, in this case, the Maumee River, by filtering stormwater to reduce non-point pollution. The wetlands also create a habitat for wildlife. Overall, the project will reduce standing water in the neighborhoods.

“Our stormwater team is committed to protecting neighborhoods, improving stormwater drainage, and safeguarding our rivers. This project, combined with the first two phases of the Hessen Cassel drainage improvements, will significantly reduce standing water after a storm in 13 neighborhoods along the Hessen Cassel corridor and improve water quality in our local streams and rivers,” said Anne Marie Smrchek, Engineering Manager for Sewer and Stormwater. “It’s fitting that we’re breaking ground for the Colonial Heritage wetland expansion during American Wetlands Month. We take protecting our waterways seriously, as do our partners with the Great Lakes Commission and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR). This improvement will protect the Trier Ditch watershed and the Maumee River, which flows into Lake Erie.”

Project funding includes a $200,000 grant from the Great Lakes Sediment and Nutrient Reduction Program, two grants totaling $150,000 from the DNR’s Lake and River Enhancement Program, and $350,000 from the City Utilities’ stormwater fund.

Combined, the three phases of the Hessen Cassel drainage improvements will see an investment of more than $6-million and improve drainage for 13 neighborhoods, 2,300 homes, and 70 businesses and connect them with sidewalks where they did not exist before.

The neighborhoods benefiting from the multi-phase Hessen Cassel project include Branning Hills, Casselwood Terrace, Eastland Gardens, Hickory Grove, Trier Ridge Park, Rolling Rose, Village Wood Community, Congress-McKinnie, Village Green, Colonial Heritage, Tucker Court, Hoevelwood and Greater McMillen Park.

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