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Vintage Steam Engine Could Get Home In Fort Wayne

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Headwaters Junction is mentioned in the Legacy Task Force’s riverfront development master plan and implementation, one of four spending categories for the fund. Nine projects were proposed and approved by City Council last month, including a feasibility study to examine riverfront development.

Task force members wrote that incorporating Headwaters Junction into a mixed-use development “should not be overlooked. The consulting firm (performing a feasibility study) should give Headwaters Junction its due diligence when developing a vision for our riverfront and North River.”

John Urbahns, community development director, said the team determined that the plan for Headwaters Junction provided a unique opportunity and should be given more consideration. The $500,000 riverfront study will investigate the best use for property around the city’s rivers, including the north river property.

At the heart of the plan is to return Berkshire steam locomotive No. 765 to downtown Fort Wayne where it had been on display as a monument to the 1955 Elevate the Nickel Plate project that opened a twotrack overpass above city streets. Because of deterioration to the steam locomotive, the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society removed the locomotive in 1974 and has since restored it.

Other parts of the plan are a restaurant and banquet center, miniature railroad, trail access and a performance area.

Lynch, who owns a media agency and teaches cinematography at Huntington University, has developed an extensive and detailed proposal, but said he’s not tied down to specific details.

“I’m completely open to changes,” he said. “There are certain caveats of the plan, but at the end of the day visitor experience is the most important thing.”

One caveat is the venue’s location on the north river property. Lynch said the tie-in with the rivers and downtown is an important feature that should remain.

But the entire property is about 37 acres, said Dan Wire, a member of the team that developed the riverfront proposal. Wire, a retired teacher and a self-proclaimed river advocate, believes there’s a misconception that Headwaters Junction would take up the entire property, but in reality it could be just one acre.

“Some people don’t understand that it could be added value to whatever else is there. It would be the whipped cream on the ice cream sundae,” Wire said.

Lynch said the locomotive is a part of the city’s history and it can’t be enjoyed by the community in it’s current location, in a warehouse about five miles east of New Haven.

“There’s a certain type of magic that this thing inspires,” he said of No. 765.

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Posted by FanningCommunications on Feb 1st, 2013 and filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response by filling following comment form or trackback to this entry from your site

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