Fort Wayne City Council approves party boat rezoning

Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 8:34 PM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - City councilors on Tuesday approved a rezoning request that will allow a party boat dock and restaurant to be built along the St. Joseph River near Spy Run Extended and Parnell Avenue.

The vote was 7-2.

Of the two council members who voted no were Councilman Geoff Paddock (D - 5th District) and Councilman Russ Jehl (R - 2nd District). They say they voted against the rezoning because of some concerns raised by neighbors.

“All they said tonight was the party barge should not be right there beside the north side association,” Jehl said. “They pointed out several other places that it could go that would be less onerous to the neighborhood.”

On the other hand, Councilwoman Michelle Chambers (D - At-Large) was one of seven council members who voted for the rezoning. She says the project will help with the growth of Fort Wayne.

“We have an opportunity to create an alternative pathway, not take away from our trailways,” Chambers said. “We also have an opportunity to create an environment for young people and family members to access the river way without having to go downtown.”

Plan Commission members previously approved the request from River City Ventures LLC.

The location of the proposed project sits at the southwest corner of Spy Run Extended and Parnell Avenue near the Coliseum.

River City Ventures Proposed Location Map
River City Ventures Proposed Location Map(WPTA)

According to the property owners, the proposed project will be a restaurant with outdoor seating. The plan is to build parking lot, a building equipped with check-in for boats, restrooms, a storefront and a small seasonal restaurant with concessions.

A vocal group of neighbors opposed the project over traffic and noise concerns. Other concerns arose about the proposed location being in a floodplain.