Monday, June 18, 2007

Fort Wayne: Room to Party
I've had discussions with several folks, and of course read continuing dialogs in the paper and on blogs, about the personality of Ft. Wayne...or lack of it. One of the whole Harrison Square project's goals is, it seems, to give downtown FWA some personality. Even, manufacture some ... which never seems to work real well. Manufactured personality is often faux personality.

Because what is Ft. Wayne known for? "A nice place to raise kids...." But what do kids like to do? Theme parks, amusement parks, water parks, all of which we drive to. The zoo is great, a one-day draw at best, and if you're going to go somewhere for a weekend, big zoos at Toledo, Columbus, Cinci, Chicago, Indy, even Cleveland are available. The library is great, for that limited number interested in genealogy. Our shopping's not bad. The amateur sports scene is a draw, but those folks have their time eaten up by games. So what do we have that would both amuse local residents and draw visitors in for longer stays?

Well: Think about the summer. Every summer (l-o-n-g) weekend. What's ALREADY going on, that we built a big park for, and then put a big cover over because it got used so much, and there's often so many people you have to drive around looking for parking?

Festivals. All kinds of festivals. You know--big parties.

We do these GREAT. We have an excellent facility. (We could improve the parking.) But think--weekend after weekend, all summer long, Ft. Wayne goes downtown to party.

Now, granted, being known as Party Central could have some drawbacks, but if you market it right, I think it has legs. Long legs.

Keep whatever festivals we already have, fill up every weekend on into the fall, and come up with some innovative ideas for winter stuff, and now there's something you can market to a wide audience, a changing audience, and throw in the usual attractions, and of course TRF, the granddaddy of 'em all, and all of a sudden Ft. Wayne has a better personality than we'd ever dreamed of.

Food, fun, music, crafts, art, fireworks, rides--mix any number of 'em up at Headwaters Park and Freimann Square all year long, with free trolley rides to Harrison Square, the zoo, the malls, Speice Fieldhouse, the library, etc., and suddenly residents and visitors alike are in a party mood.

Think about it: Ft. Wayne, Indiana: Room to Party.

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