Feasability study planned for river and rail attraction

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Hotbox
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Re: Feasability study planned for river and rail attraction

Post by Hotbox » Sat Jan 05, 2013 12:17 pm

nathansixchime wrote:
but the plan calls for other motive power to be utilized. As some know, the FWRHS owns an SD9,

---SNIP--

We will be offering public excursions in 2013, including out of Fort Wayne. This has been a long term goal of the FWRHS -- and of course, me personally. It would provide us the opportunity to have trips that depart quite literally from downtown, from our own facility.

--SNIP--


As far as local pockets, this answers one of the biggest burdens the FWRHS has faced: how to make the 765 meaningful and relevant in a city responsible for its preservation and for which it is a substantial cultural icon when you can't operate it here? The choice of being able to see it in a cage in New Haven or having to drive a few hours to ride behind it is not enviable. Even if we can develop our facility in New Haven, hoping people stumble across a garage on the state border is a far cry from what is possible. I don't want to be 50 years old and have a train in a barn capable of all this awesome stuff and not have a) anywhere to run it and b) no one who cares about it.

Something about the way you said "vintage" in the initial post, made me suspect the SD 9 rather than the Berkshire.

It'd be GREAT if you can stage excursions from Fort Wayne. Of course I realize that depends upon the cooperation of an entity that operates 20,000 miles of railroad in 22 states. Hopefully that glacier is thawing.

I think that a football junket down to Lafayette some fall weekend would be an irresistible temptation to many here in these parts. :wink:

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Re: Feasability study planned for river and rail attraction

Post by nathansixchime » Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:50 pm

Hotbox wrote: --


I think that a football junket down to Lafayette some fall weekend would be an irresistible temptation to many here in these parts. :wink:
You're not far off.. ;)
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Re: Feasability study planned for river and rail attraction

Post by rrnut282 » Sun Jan 27, 2013 3:18 pm

Looks like this idea is gaining steam.

Sorry, I couldn't resist. :mrgreen:
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Re: Feasability study planned for river and rail attraction

Post by nathansixchime » Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:44 pm

These puns were made for this.o
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Re: Feasability study planned for river and rail attraction

Post by Hotbox » Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:07 pm

I would certainly be delighted if this whole thing took off as described, and succeeded.

Clearly it's going to be necessary to overcome some age old hurdles that have dogged Fort Wayne's attempts to create a Downtown Entertainment District for decades and decades.

The list of failed businesses on the Landing is as long, as it is lamentable.

With this project, coupled with the ongoing efforts over at Parkview Field, evidently someone now believes they can succeed times two, where nobody else has even managed to survive. After much thought, I have to wonder if Fort Wayne is large enough to support both?

Has there been any thought to the feasibility of locating over by Parkview Field? Either the old Wabash freighthouse area, or perhaps the area east of Fairfield between the viaducts comes to mind.

I just say this because i see a tremendous amount of investment going in around Parkview, and of course investors are going to expect a return. And I'm not confident that Fort Wayne has the kind of economy right now that could fuel both fires.

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Re: Feasability study planned for river and rail attraction

Post by nathansixchime » Sun Feb 17, 2013 11:33 am

Hotbox wrote: Clearly it's going to be necessary to overcome some age old hurdles that have dogged Fort Wayne's attempts to create a Downtown Entertainment District for decades and decades.
In the next few years, there will be as much concentration on developing Harrison street into a corridor as there will be riverfront development. The thought is to "channel" activity down a central street that links up with the river, and Harrison has the Grand Wayne/hotel/Parkview Field/Embassy/etc and businesses at Harrison/Wayne.

Harrison Street development is also great for North River and/or Headwaters Junction because the ROW intersects Harrison at the bridge near Cass Street. Even if we weren't able to locate at North River, having that tether to 4th street, Wells, and Harrison would help some in being able to originate dinner trains, interurbans, etc.
Hotbox wrote:
With this project, coupled with the ongoing efforts over at Parkview Field, evidently someone now believes they can succeed times two, where nobody else has even managed to survive. After much thought, I have to wonder if Fort Wayne is large enough to support both?
Density and diversity is a key theme. A critical mass only succeeds with more people living and coming downtown.
Hotbox wrote:

Has there been any thought to the feasibility of locating over by Parkview Field? Either the old Wabash freighthouse area, or perhaps the area east of Fairfield between the viaducts comes to mind.

I just say this because i see a tremendous amount of investment going in around Parkview, and of course investors are going to expect a return. And I'm not confident that Fort Wayne has the kind of economy right now that could fuel both fires.
Unfortunately, relocation dramatically changes the business and operating model. The key is having a railroad under your own control that you can operate on whenever you want, however you want. That's why the GR&I and access to that line is make or break. You could definitely create any variety of static or museum type operations with the GE plant, Baker Street, etc...but these things mean and do the most when they're able to run. One of my key arguments is that the 765 and tourist railroading in general are significant people magnets and offer significant annual programming and events and the last thing the city should do is put them in a place where they can't adequately attract or serve people. Anything that simply relocates the trains, but doesn't provide them a place to operate, may as well be the same as New Haven.

Thanks for thinking on it some more! I'll be presenting at the West Central neighborhood association tomorrow evening: http://headwatersjunction.com/neighborh ... sentation/
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Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society
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Re: Feasability study planned for river and rail attraction

Post by Hotbox » Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:48 pm

Well, I'll go no further, because i don't want to be a doomsayer. But Ft Wayne's ability to support both areas concerns me.

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Re: Feasability study planned for river and rail attraction

Post by Mark » Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:58 pm

Hotbox wrote:Well, I'll go no further, because i don't want to be a doomsayer. But Ft Wayne's ability to support both areas concerns me.
I like the vision.
But, I think there is going to have to be
some form of transport from Fourth street
to Baker Street.

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Re: Feasability study planned for river and rail attraction

Post by nathansixchime » Fri Feb 22, 2013 1:35 pm

If Harrison street is developed into the corridor that everyone hopes it will be, that will become very likely. The Grand Wayne Center is sort of in the way...but can be gotten around.
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Re: Feasability study planned for river and rail attraction

Post by Bob Durnell » Sun Feb 24, 2013 11:30 am

Well, SOME of us tried to tell everybody that the Grand Wayne expansion configuerd that way was going to cut the heart of the city in half, and we were ignored or told to shut up. Then we TRIED to tell the powers that be that Parkview Field and the new hotel were being built on the wrong side of the Grand Wayne Center, and once again we were ignored. The first planning consultant told the city the same thing, but it wasn't what the Richard administration wanted to hear, so they just hired another consultant that agreed with them to give them political cover for what they were going to do all along. I am also on record as saying the Harrison will be a white elephant and after five years will struggle to see 50% occupancy. That project was shoved down our throat so hard, that I fear we will ALL be choking on it for years to come.
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Re: Feasability study planned for river and rail attraction

Post by Hotbox » Tue Feb 26, 2013 5:46 pm

nathansixchime wrote: It also means a new short line railroad taking over the GR&I and operating it with vintage locomotives.

Any thoughts as to what that new short line might be named? And, is there currently a worthwhile opportunity for freight revenue?

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Re: Feasability study planned for river and rail attraction

Post by nathansixchime » Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:39 am

There are opportunities for customer expansion and continued service on the line. The feasibility study will help bring these into focus. We have some preliminary car counts and maintenance costs, ideally as a separate entity/common carrier status you'd be able to cover costs and make a little money to reinvest into the line. It's more about having control of guaranteed railroad to operate on than it is turning a significant profit.

We've played with Fort Wayne Terminal Railway Company or simply, Fort Wayne Railroad, but it may as well all be model railroading until we get further down the road.
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Re: Feasability study planned for river and rail attraction

Post by nathansixchime » Wed Feb 27, 2013 11:25 am

Bob Durnell wrote:Well, SOME of us tried to tell everybody that the Grand Wayne expansion configuerd that way was going to cut the heart of the city in half, and we were ignored or told to shut up. Then we TRIED to tell the powers that be that Parkview Field and the new hotel were being built on the wrong side of the Grand Wayne Center, and once again we were ignored. The first planning consultant told the city the same thing, but it wasn't what the Richard administration wanted to hear, so they just hired another consultant that agreed with them to give them political cover for what they were going to do all along. I am also on record as saying the Harrison will be a white elephant and after five years will struggle to see 50% occupancy. That project was shoved down our throat so hard, that I fear we will ALL be choking on it for years to come.
Bob, forgive the delay in responding. I have made myself very familiar with the economic development scene since 2007, largely because of the idea for HWJ and Parkview Field itself. If you had told me when I graduated that I would become...obsessed with this at 27, I would have thought it crazy. But here I am, 27, and crazy. While I worked for the Ohio Central or was in college for much of the discussion about the Grand Wayne Center/The Harrison and North River, I still studied it relentlessly. To a great degree, it was because of Parkview Field that I decided that Fort Wayne could be capable of a project like HWJ, and thus I wanted to stay and see it (and a number of other things) happen.

There are many threads progressing in this city - quality of life, housing, workforce development, education, etc and the city won't evolve if one of these threads progresses alone. If the city were to stay stagnant say, circa 1995, then the Harrison and Anthony Wayne Condo project would definitely falter, but the idea is to support a growing demand among millennials and empty-nesters or just people that want to live downtown. Three Rivers apartments are at 95% capacity right now.

A variety of studies from organizations like the Knight Foundation show that people of all ages, primarily millennials, want a return to diverse urban cores and walkable neighborhoods and downtowns, which can only be achieved by having people live, work, and leisure within the core instead of the suburbs. This is an un-doing of the post-war sprawl. If this "return to form" doesn't occur, yes -- Harrison, AWB, and other projects will falter -- and that return to form is contingent on quality of life offerings, social activities, educational and workforce opportunities, etc.

The rising tide needs to raise all ships, but there need to be ships in the water to begin with. Politics aside, in this case the city took a great risk to set the table/set the tone for community development in the private sector. It's much like starting a business -- if I'm not willing to invest what I have as a business owner, why would any investor (citizen, corporate, private, wealthy, etc) want to invest either?

Even though I'm the son of a political cartoonist, I am not very political -- I'm an advocate for community, quality and sense of place, etc. I don't expect or desire that the city underwrite every effort to these ends, but the appetite for it has to exist for it to get anywhere.

I was looking through some planning redevelopment documents last night that highlighted the area between Fairfield and Harrison and the area around the Grand Wayne and Parkview Field. At one point the lots where Taco Bell and Rallys exist was going to be purchased and redeveloped (far too expensive right now, too many land leases...etc), which would have built up this corner.

After reviewing it, I think that the field on the other side of Jefferson would have effectively left a hole where the ballpark, the Embassy, and Baker Street station are. An urban core must have diversity and density. Now that Harrison Street will be the subject of redevelopment into an entertainment destination/venue, you've filled up your downtown from Baker to someday Superior and the riverfront, creating the density that expands from river to rail, which is part of why there are cold feet about North River -- its "too far away" when in reality it's a few blocks (no problem if you've ever lived in Chicago) -- but likewise, because of the focus on riverfront development, the idea is to build between these anchors and areas of "energy."
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Re: Feasability study planned for river and rail attraction

Post by Bob Durnell » Wed Feb 27, 2013 3:00 pm

Kelly, I think that the hole you speak of is BECAUSE Grand Wayne chopped that area in half and put up a "Berlin Wall", which is why people like me thought it was a bad idea to build the expansion the way they did. Once that decision was made, I feel it would have been better to concentrate developemnt on the north side of Washington Blvd. I am all for redeveloping downtown Fort Wayne, and I applaud your efforts. I would love nothing more than for your vision to become a reality, but I think there are some realities and some pitfalls to overcome. I am concerned however that if the redevelopement is spread too far, too fast and not from a central core, it is more prone to fail. I also know that as silly as it sounds Fort Wayne DOES NOT work like most other cities, especially when it comes to spending money. My wife worked for about three years in direct marketing a high end household product sold around the country. It's a superior, albeit quite expensive product. You would be SHOCKED at the areas that vastly outsold this one. Warsaw's sales buried Allen County's and a territory in rural Michigan (economically challenged Michigan) would sell more units in a week than Allen County could sell in two months. People in this town do NOT part with money easily, unless it's to go out to eat. Beware that what works elsewhere, often DOES NOT work in Fort Wayne, much as we wish it would. I am still unconvinced that very many people WANT to live in downtown Fort Wayne. I have known at least a half dozen people that have lived in Three Rivers Apartments and for various reasons, could not wait to move somewhere else. There has been numerous efforts to do condos downtown, and all have ended in failure. Don't be the least bit surprised that once the novelty of the Harrison wears off, it will be half empty too. I'm not trying to be a Debby Downer, just rying to keep a realistic perspective here and learn from our previous missteps. I also would like to find the person who OKed doing away with the right hand lane of Jefferson to use them for the Harrison. I visit the Dallas metroplex about once a year, and down there, they widen 4 lane roads to 8 lanes, and build 6 lane roads into corn fields awaiting the next wave of growth, while in Allen County, we close off streets to make way for buildings and do away with lanes on the busiest eastbound street in the entire city to serve a non-traffic need. If they needed that lane, they should have backed the Harrison and the ballpark up 30 feet to the south, and they could have done whatever they wanted. It's amazing what kind of stupidity can be accomplished around here if the "Right People" are behind it.
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