Relaxing on the edge of a newly built wall, with his feet dangling over the edge, 18-year-old, Kolton Blizzard, contemplates his recent decision to enter the Air Force. “This is such a nice place to come to now,” he said referring to the Ivan Lebamoff Reservoir Park, along Clinton Street. “I’ve lived in Fort Wayne for 3 years, with my family. We live just down the street in a big house.”
Today, the water was low. You could see all sorts of debris floating in the water and buried along the edges-tires, bottles, cans, plastic bags. “And one time, my brother and I found a bike,” Kolton said. With a concerned look he said, “It’s a shame people come to this nice place and just chuck stuff in it.”
Several projects have been completed at Reservoir Park. Last fall, a company was hired to clear the undergrowth on the 50-foot hill and seeded it down with grass. Now the hill is much more open, looks better and is safer for the park.
Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Public Information Officer Natalie Eggeman commented, “At this park we are finishing up a big project that replaced the crumbling old concrete sidewalk around the pond perimeter. This project involved lowering the level of the pond, and currently, the water is being filled and the fountains installed. We hope to have the pond back to full capacity this week.”
As a neighbor Kolton said, “In the evenings, the fountain lights up. It’s really beautiful with orange, blue, all colors. It’s nice watching good progress.”
The Reservoir Pond will be re-stocked with fish the day of the Fort Wayne Community Fishing Club’s 21st Annual Fishing Derby on Saturday, June 2 from 8am to 4pm reported an employee at LaFayette Bait Shop. No fishing license required for the event. Last year a couple hundred participants gathered at the pond. Prizes are awarded to boys and girls who catch the largest fish. The event is free and open to the public.
Another project that is scheduled to begin at the end of the month is the construction of a new 10-space parking lot off Creighton Avenue to serve the Cooper Center-which provides year-round youth programs. This project will also include new overhead lighting at the lot and throughout the park along the walking path to improve pedestrian safety in the park.
Later this month as well, the LA REZ letter bed that is located in the center of the park, will get an update and refurbishment with new landscaping and plants.
In 1900s, it was decided by city officials to build this reservoir supplying safe water to the community. Early 1960s, the city built the current water filtration plant making the reservoir in the La Rez neighborhood obsolete. It was renamed the Ivan Lebamoff Reservoir Park in 2009, after a former mayor, who helped fund the rebuilding of the deteriorating park, which is currently owned by the Parks and Recreation Department.