Northwest Area Partnership Endorses Headwaters Junction

Rosie O’Grady, co-chair of the Northwest Area Partnership submitted this Neighborhood Update to the News Sentinel in which she covered a presentation on Headwaters Junction.

Steam engine vision shared at last month’s Northwest Area Partnership meeting

Old locomotive would be center of North River area.

Hi, neighbors,

Whenever reading a good book, did you ever peek at the last few pages to see how it ends? That’s what I will do right now. Our guest speaker, Kelly Lynch, had such an awesome presentation and a vision that we have all been waiting for, and that’s the return of rail to our city.

Lynch, the director of the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, described his vision of returning the Nickel Plate Railroad steam locomotive No. 765 to the North River site (former OmniSource property) at Fourth and Clinton streets, which is across Clinton Street from the engine’s resting place in Lawton Park from 1963 to 1974. The engine since has been rebuilt. There have been 50,000 seasonal visitors, and they come from 50 states and seven countries in only 16 days of (No. 765’s excursions) operation.

What a plus this would be for our city to once again have the old locomotive in its own roundhouse with rail system and possibly a canal, splashpad, park or performance area at that now-vacant North River site. Called Headwaters Junction, it (the proposed development) would become a centerpiece to the cultural corridor that would establish Fort Wayne as a forward-thinking place with vision and character.

It would become a magnet for downtown and serve as a connection for the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, Science Central, Headwaters Park, Rivergreenway and Wells Street corridor. It could serve area business and stimulate industrial growth with its “short rail” system; create apprenticeships; and boost civic pride, education outreach, special events, entertainment, recreation and learning in a vivid, hands-on setting.

This vision would and could be something for everyone, and the vision seems endless. I’m hoping all the partnerships will invite Lynch to hear about returning rail to our city again.