The new Promenade Park in downtown Fort Wayne was designed to be accessible to everyone, including those who are disabled. The goal was to build a shared public space that had everyone's needs in mind.
Due to the generosity of the AWS Foundation and Lilly Foundation, the new park had $300,000 to ensure it would be accessible to everyone. Design Collaborative partnered with The League and Turnstone to assemble a focus group to review the initial draft of the park proposal.
The focus group included a group of ten individuals and their families, representing a variety of disabilities like visual impairment, Parkinson's, spinal cord injuries, Down syndrome, arthritis, and others. The focus group presented their ideas and critiques of the park proposal to experts in landscape architecture, planning, park design and operations. The suggestions were well received and the plans were redesigned.
Some of the accessible features of Promenade Park include:
The inclusive playground has a rubberized solid surface.
Concerts can be viewed from any location of the grass lawn for those in wheelchairs or others with walkers or stroller due to the solid base
Every level of seating at the riverfront amphitheater is accessible by ramps
Easy in and out of kayaks because of the floating dock
Doors to the pavilion spaces are equipped with electric door openers
Accessible bathrooms include family restrooms within the pavilion and adjacent to the beer garden
Easy and safe entrance to the accessible Sweet Breeze canal boat from the south dock
Tree canopy trail has easy entrances for all from street level with gradual ramping and strategically placed benches for resting along the path
A tactile ribbon circumnavigating the park (along with a follow along 3-D relief map) for those visiting with visual impairment
Water features including a splash pad within reach for all
The worn surface of the Wells Street Bridge was refinished to minimize gaps and provide a less bumpy path to traverse the St. Mary's River
The city park commission, area donors, and businesses all joined in to ensure that the entire park is accessible. With extra thought and foresight, it is possible to make these public spaces accessible and enjoyable for everyone.
Source: AWS Foundation From the CEO: Promenade Park