Headwaters Junction was conceived over a decade ago as a way to capitalize on the allure and success of Fort Wayne’s railroad attractions and make downtown Fort Wayne a destination city.

Since then, it’s been endorsed by a dozen community and neighborhood organizations, included in the 2015 riverfront plan and has up to 2 million dollars in donations and gifts committed to making it a reality.

You can review the incredible journey of this project below.

 

2019 – Headwaters Junction, Inc. signs purchase agreement for nearly a mile of railroad right-of-way in the Riverfront District.

2019 – Headwaters Junction, Inc. acquires a historic railroad passenger car to convert into an ADA accessible lounge car for trips, meetings and events.

2019 – Headwaters Junction, Inc. acquires the historic Craigville depot for restoration and relocation.

2018 – Headwaters Junction, Inc. negotiates with Norfolk Southern to purchase historic railroad right-of-way.

2018The City of Fort Wayne’s Riverfront Fort Wayne brochure lists Headwaters Junction among future attractions within Riverfront Fort Wayne: “Phase I, Promenade Park, and Phases II and III are intended to help position our rivers as part of a larger network of destinations in fort Wayne, including Parkview Field, downtown museums, The Landing, Headwaters Park and future developments like Headwaters Junction.”

2017 – City of Fort Wayne acquires North River property in December. Headwaters Junction publicly announces it has refocused on developing North River. Continental Property Group expresses interest in developing North River in a partnership with Headwaters Junction, Inc. It is the only response to the City’s RFP for the North River site.

2017 – Headwaters Junction, Inc. shifts focus from Pepsi site to North River based on advance knowledge and involvement of Headwaters Junction board members in property acquisition for other projects in July. Headwaters Junction begins property acquisition discussions with Norfolk Southern.

2017 –FWRHS and Headwaters Junction, Inc. sign an updated memorandum of understanding to “continue the relationship between Headwaters Junction and FWRHS, encourage Headwaters Junction to move forward with a capital campaign, establish that FWRHS intends to locate its equipment and operations to Headwaters Junction, agree to creating a formal operating agreement at such time one is deemed necessary.”

2016Fort Wayne Journal Gazette formally endorses Headwaters Junction: “In Headwaters Junction, northeast Indiana might finally have an attraction as iconic as San Antonio’s River Walk and as family friendly as a water park. Best of all, it could have an attraction unique to the region and true to northeast Indiana’s rich history.”

2016Stone Consulting study finalizes report which estimates that Headwaters Junction project will attract 140,000 visitors to Fort Wayne, cost between 15-20 million dollars and have an economic impact of 60 million dollars. New renderings and findings are released to the public. An additional $37,000 is raised through the Community Foundation for additional project funding.

2016 – Headwaters Junction, LLC formally becomes Headwaters Junction, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation, with a board made up of three FWRHS members and community and business leaders, including representatives from Steel Dynamics, Omnisource, Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation, Fort Wayne Trails, Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana, PNC Bank and Sweetwater Sound. Headwaters Junction engages the City and Pepsi regarding land.

2016 – Stone Consulting is hired to conduct a feasibility and marketing study. FWRHS raises an initial $70,000 to fund the study. Donors include Steel Dynamics, PNC Bank and the Greater Fort Wayne Community Foundation.

2016 – Headwaters Junction is endorsed by Visit Fort Wayne: “Headwaters Junction would be a nod to Fort Wayne’s train history and showcase a unique, authentic asset. That’s what visitors want in their tourism experiences – authentic and unique. It would also be synergistic with the other neighboring historic attractions, the Old Fort and Wells Street Bridge.”

2015Headwaters Junction is officially included in Riverfront Fort Wayne master plan in February, with a new site selected between Harrison and Wells Streets (current site of a Pepsi distribution center and adjacent to Fort Wayne Outfitters, the latter of which is housed in a former New York Central passenger station.) SWA Group states “Headwaters Junction would be a catalyst for Fort Wayne.”

2014 – Norfolk Southern’s support for planning and development is documented in December. “Norfolk Southern looks forward to working with the City and the Historical Society on the Headwaters Junction project.”

2014Headwaters Junction is included in early drafts of Riverfront Fort Wayne plan.

2013 – City of Fort Wayne hires SWA Group, a renown planning and architecture firm, to develop riverfront masterplan.

2012Legacy Fort Wayne Committee endorses Headwaters Junction after lengthy review of development proposals. Headwaters Junction is the only specific plan advanced by a committee. The Headwaters Junction proposal proved to be big, bold, and transformational. Incorporating this feature within a mixed-use development should not be overlooked. The consulting form should give HWJ its due diligence when developing a vision for our riverfront and North River.”

2012Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, Inc (FWRHS) signs memorandum of understanding to formally establish a link FWRHS and Headwaters Junction LLC in January. Plans consider North River or vacant land at Osage and Burgress Street, both former railroad yards.

2011 – Headwaters Junction is endorsed by Wells Street Historic Corridor and Business Association, Fort Wayne Trails, Arts United, Friends of the Rivers, Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Improvement District, Friends of the Parks, Bloomingdale Neighborhood Association, Northside Neighborhood Association and Northwest Area Partnership.

2011 – Headwaters Junction is voted in top three ideas for Legacy Fort Wayne funds through public voting in January.

2010 –  New York Central freight house at North River is demolished.

2008 – Idea first introduced for former New York Central yard/Omnisource facility (known locally as “North River.”)

1986 – Landscape Architect and Headwaters Park designer Eric Kuhne proposes creating “Grand Central Park” at 4th and Clinton Streets, which would include a railroad tourist attraction and a streetcar system.