A City of Fort Wayne project has brought a new and improved look to the intersection of Bluffton Road and Airport Expressway.
Completed by City crews during the week of October 16, the project actually began when the land was surveyed in April of this year. A request for bids on the work went out soon after, and the receipt of quotes was finished by the end of April, according to Holli Campbell, with the City of Fort Wayne Community Development.
Once bidding was finished, a contract for the work was awarded to Harlow Enterprises; the company signed the pact on June 8, 2017. Harlow delayed the project a couple of months until October “because the weather would be more favorable for planting trees during the cooler months,” Campbell said.
Once the agreement was legal, Harlow went to work. Because the gateway markers (and most of the trees there) celebrating Fort Wayne’s bicentennial had been in place since being installed in 1994, cleaning and sprucing up was a necessity.
A number of the pine trees in the area had become susceptible to disease and, were dying or dead. That foliage was removed; several of the area’s crab apple trees also were trimmed back, as was the overgrown invasive vegetation crowding the site’s right-of-way.
Harlow then planted 51 new trees and 37 new shrubs in the area to brighten its look. The landscaping company also spread a bed of mulch around the new trees and shrubs, and reseeded areas where the grass had died out or was damaged.
But, according to Campbell, the project was about more than some new grass and a few shovels of fresh mulch.
“The city and community members of Waynedale have been focusing on a number of initiatives to improve aesthetics, accessibility and safety of the area including the recent installation of the Bluffton Road trail and sidewalks, the Clyde Theater renovation, and the development of the Bluffton Road-Lower Huntington Road Corridor Improvement Plan,” she said. “With this corridor and gateway marker serving as a ‘front door’ not only to the City, but also to the Waynedale area, it’s important that it’s reflective of the pride that the residents have for the area and supports the implementation of the future improvements they want to see.”
Actually, the work is just part of a city-wide improvement plan undertaken by Mayor Tom Henry’s administration, Campbell said.
“It’s been an initiative of Mayor Henry to improve the main corridors of our city, as they are the ‘front doors’ that welcome people to our community,” Campbell explained. “Adopted as part of our comprehensive city plan by City Council in 2012, the Front Door Fort Wayne Plan sets forth goals to improve and maintain these corridors so they continue to have a positive impact on community members and visitors alike.
“Other corridors and gateways that have been improved recently include the lighting of all our bicentennial markers, the railroad underpass on Jefferson Boulevard near Lindenwood (cemetery), Lafayette Boulevard green space enhancements and marker installations at Lafayette Place neighborhood, the City sculpture and roundabout at Superior Street and Wells Avenue, and the mural and railroad underpass improvements on Columbia Avenue.”