Mayor Tom Henry honored two long-time Foster Park residents by proclaiming July 1st John and Julia Oldenkamp Day. City Council President Tom Smith read the proclamation at Foster Park on behalf of the Mayor, who was unable to attend. Parks and Recreation Director Al Moll, Friends of the Parks President Julie Donnell, City Council members and park advocates joined Councilman Smith to express their appreciation of the Oldenkamps and their $250,000 donation to Foster Park improvements.
“Fort Wayne is lucky to have a history of private sector support for its public parks, to have advocates like the Friends of the Parks, and to have dedicated citizens like John and Julia Oldenkamp,” said Smith. “In recognition of the Oldenkamp’s generous gift and the plans to improve Foster Park, I encourage citizens to walk and enjoy Foster’s flower gardens, green spaces, golf course and greenway.”
John and his late wife Julia lived in the Foster Park neighborhood for 52 years. Julia walked through Foster Park every day and John enjoyed running and taking long walks in the park. He called the park his “big office” where he could go to gain a clearer mind and work out problems he faced at his job at General Electric.
The news conference was held in Pavilion #1, a building that will greatly benefit from the improvement plan. The roof and internal structural damage will be repaired, cracked columns will be replaced, and some cosmetic improvements will be included.
New signage for the park is also in the plans, including a limestone monument sign similar to those at Lakeside and Swinney parks. Directional signs to help people find their way around the park will be erected along with a new golf course sign.
For safety reasons, and an improved park experience, a shared bike and pedestrian trail will be constructed along Main Park Drive, for a protected connection from Old Mill Rd. into Foster Park. Essentially, this will separate pedestrian and bike traffic from vehicular traffic.
“We’re very grateful to the Oldenkamps for their generosity and to the Friends of the Parks for their help in the improvement planning process,” said Moll. “It’s a great feeling to know that our parks are improving the quality of life for our citizens.”
The Friends of the Parks is an independent advocacy and education group which strives to partner with the Parks and Recreation Department. The Friends’ activities include fundraising for park improvements and planting trees through the annual Great Tree Canopy Comeback.
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