A little late, but here’s photos and video from the Wells Streetscape Improvements ribbon cutting ceremony held November 12, 2009.
Press release from the City:
Mayor Henry cuts ribbon on Wells Street streetscape improvements
Project demonstrates continued commitment to neighborhoods, commercial corridors
(November 12, 2009) Joined by Wells Street business owners, Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry today cut the ribbon between new bollards for additional pedestrian safety to mark the completion of improvements to Wells Street between the old Wells Street bridge and Huffman Street.
“Cutting the ribbon today on the Wells Street streetscape improvement project shows commitment to Fort Wayne’s commercial corridors, which are often anchors for some of the city’s oldest, most historic neighborhoods,” Mayor Henry said. “The improvements here are for everyone: pedestrians, bicyclists, drivers, property owners and business patrons. The Wells Street business district has recently seen remarkable investment from both private business owners and the public sector. Streetscape improvements can only enhance the experience for anyone who visits this key location that’s immediately north of downtown.”
Balancing the needs of vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists, this streetscape improvement project added new sidewalks, several bump-out areas for improved pedestrian safety, gateway markers and fixed banner signs, benches, bollards, bike racks and brick-paver inserts in the sidewalk. The contractor also milled and resurfaced the roadway pavement.
In 2007 members of the Wells Corridor Business Association worked with the Fort Wayne chapter of the American Institute of Architects to hold a workshop about potential for streetscape improvements that would create a visual identity for Fort Wayne’s second oldest business district while also improving safety for pedestrians.
Building on momentum from the AIA charette, two local firms, LandPlan Group and E-Tech, worked with the City’s Public Works and Community Development divisions and business and property owners along Wells Street to design this context-sensitive project.
Context-sensitive streets balance safety and mobility for all transportation modes. The resulting comprehensive design responds to the demand of multiple modes of travel: motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists and mass transit. It also considers adjacent land uses, local densities and nearby destinations.
“Once again, here on Wells Street, we are seeing how ideas and concepts of Fort Wayne residents can become reality through effective urban planning,” said Community Development Director John Urbahns. “The City believes in engaging the public in planning to help create actual, tangible results that produce further opportunities for private investment and thriving neighborhoods.”
Since 2006, the Wells Street corridor has seen substantial private investment including Richard’s Bakery, Sloan Funeral Home, Don Chavez, and Pepsi Co., plus Hyde Bros. Booksellers and G.I. Joe’s participated in the City’s 2009 Commercial Façade Grant program.
“The City’s investment in Fort Wayne’s second oldest business district has brought back safe pedestrian connectivity in a beautiful streetscape that resembles the historic Wells Street pedestrian bridge,” said Judi Wire, president of the Wells Corridor Business Association and owner of Great Panes Glass Co. “This inviting atmosphere will help promote continued reinvestment on this corridor and links us to the revitalization efforts happening downtown.”
The City funded the $792,000 project with a $550,000 federal Community Development Block Grant, $49,000 of City Council CEDIT contributions and about $200,000 from the 2009 CEDIT bond.