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Downtown Development Projects Prominent in Cities this Summer

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Some big projects are now underway in both South Bend and Fort Wayne, including South Bend’s Smart Streets project, the Riverfront Fort Wayne development and the massive 3RPORT infrastructure investment.

South Bend and the Smart Streets Project: In South Bend, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and community leaders held a grand opening in June for the downtown Smart Streets project. The project’s goal was to create safer, more efficient transportation in the downtown that would also make the area nicer overall with aesthetic upgrades and greater options for pedestrians and cyclists.

The project involved new curbs, widened sidewalks, streetscape and landscape improvements, new street lights and even converting one-way streets into two-ways.

Though it came with a price tag of nearly $21 million, the mayor says it is already paying off with some $50 to $60 million in private sector investments taking place before all the work was even fully complete on the project. To celebrate the grand opening and show off the improvements, the mayor and others led a bike ride around the South Bend’s downtown after the ceremony.

To learn more about the Smart Streets program, visit:


Fort Wayne and the Promenade Park and 3RPORT projects: In late June, Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry and others broke ground on Promenade Park, a $17 million development that will include features such as a pavilion, a plaza, a tree canopy trail and a 4,500 sq. ft. children’s playground. This particular project is expected to be complete in 2018, and was funded through a variety of sources including the city’s Legacy Fund, private investment and the Regional Cities Initiative.

“This is a great day,” said Mayor Henry. “It’s been in the works for years. It was probably a decade or so ago that we began to put together the humble beginnings of a study to see if in fact we could really pull this off to help our downtown become a point of destination.”

This park is just Phase 1 of a much larger plan to develop the city’s riverfront to make the downtown area much more than just the city’s downtown. “This is just a launching pad, the lynch pin for overall development up and down the river,” said Al Moll, Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Director. “This is a big day because we can actually show some firm proof that this project’s moving forward.”

Along with the groundbreaking, a new website launched to connect residents and visitors with all the goings-on along the riverfront:

Less flashy, but still critical to the city’s goal of becoming a destination, is the start of work on the Three Rivers Protection and Overflow Reduction Tunnel (also known as 3RPORT). At $188 million, 3RPORT represents the largest construction/public investment project in the history of Fort Wayne.

“To be a point of destination city, it’s critical that we invest in projects that will have a lasting and meaningful impact,” said Mayor Henry at the groundbreaking, held in mid-June. “A successful future for our community and region depends on safe, effective and efficient wastewater treatment facilities and best practices.”

The 3RPORT project, part of a long-term plan to reduce sewage overflow into the city’s rivers each year involves a deep rock tunnel as well as consolidation sewers, drop shafts and a pump station. The city reports this project will result in a 90 percent reduction in combined sewer overflow going into local rivers.

The tunnel won’t be completed until 2021 and the entire system is expected to be operational by 2025. According to Matthew Wirtz, deputy director of city utilities in Fort Wayne, the project will “benefit the entire community and our waterways…all the way to Lake Erie.” Wirtz added that the project will directly help:

  • 30 neighborhoods
  • 15,000 properties
  • 45,000 residents

Read more about this tunnel project at:

Jeff Rea, President & CEO

South Bend Region Economic Development



Eric Doden, CEO

Greater Fort Wayne Inc.