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Alexandra Hall, drain mural artist, recently installed a drain mural at the corner of Barr and Berry Streets, Fort Wayne. An additional 32 storm drains will be decorated in September to celebrate Clean Drains Fort Wayne: Be River SmART—an initiative to raise awareness about keeping debris and pollution out of storm drains.

Clean Drains Fort Wayne is an initiative sponsored by Fort Wayne’s non-profit organization, Friends of the Rivers in partnership with Fort Wayne City Utilities. The purpose is to protect Fort Wayne’s three rivers — the St. Marys, St. Joseph and Maumee and our primary water supply, by keeping area storm drains free of debris and pollution. Success will be measured each year through water pollution data, street trash collection data, the number of identified drains being monitored, and the number of neighborhoods and schools participating.

Three-Year Community-Wide Initiative
In an effort to emphasize the importance of “clean drains”, Friends of the Rivers is embarking on this three-year community-wide program—challenging every neighborhood and citizen to prevent anything but rainwater from entering storm drains.

Raising Awareness through Art: Be River SmART
To bring focus to Clean Drains Fort Wayne, colorful and creative drain art murals are being installed by local artists and volunteers in September, 2021. Selected artists are creating imaginative and eye-catching street-art murals that cleverly incorporate designated storm drains into their designs. Thirteen drains have been designated in the downtown area and 20 others will be installed throughout each corner of the city. These artistic designs draw attention to otherwise unnoticed storm drains and encourage viewers to keep storm drains clean of debris.

School Participation
Area schools are participating in this initiative by identifying drains in their schoolyards, designating storm drain teams, and learning about the value of a clean water system to a community. The school program incorporated deep learning in many areas with curriculum developed by Friends of the Rivers. Schools will also install their own drain art murals and learn about the value of public art. (Schools may also participate in classroom field trips aboard Sweet Breeze, Fort Wayne’s authentic canal boat, to learn more about Fort Wayne Rivers and river ecology: RideSweetBreeze.org)

Neighborhoods are invited!
All neighborhoods can participate in this initiative by identifying neighborhood storm drains, monitoring the drains regularly, and installing their own drain art murals.

Share your stories!
Everyone is invited to share photos of decorated drain murals by uploading their pictures to the Friends of the Rivers website (forfw.org) or share to Facebook or Instagram—Friends of the Rivers, #cleandrainsfortwayne.

Join us on Sunday, September 26, 2021 for Clean Drains Fort Wayne Fest
Where: Promenade Park
When: Noon—4 p.m.
This free event celebrates artists, schools, and our community with music, food, family-friendly and water-related activities.
For more information and to participate as a sponsor, school, neighborhood, or artist, contact: Irene Walters at: irenewalters1@gmail.com
Learn more at: forfw.org/clean-drains-fort-wayne/
This article was written by Lea Ann Powers who is the Vice Chair and Marketing Committee Chair of the Friends of the Rivers

The Waynedale News Staff
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Lea Ann Powers

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