January 28, 2021 - Today, Mayor Tom Henry joined Fort Wayne City Council members, neighborhood representatives and staff from City Utilities and the Public Works Division to celebrate a vital neighborhood stormwater project.  

Attendees cut a ribbon to complete Phase 1 of the Hessen Cassel Road stormwater/sidewalk project and then turned around for a ceremonial groundbreaking to kick-off Phase 2.  

The projects will improve drainage for 13 neighborhoods, 2,300 homes, and 70 businesses and connect them with sidewalks where they did not exist before. 

“We can’t be a thriving community without excellent services from City Utilities. Through the proactive efforts of City Utilities, we’ve made numerous infrastructure improvements throughout the community, including many neighborhoods in southeast Fort Wayne. This multi-phased project in the Hessel Cassel Road area is helping many homes and has the added value of new sidewalks,” said Mayor Henry. “I continue to be encouraged by the ongoing commitment to investing in our neighborhoods.” 

Today’s celebration recognized the completion of Phase 1 from just south of Tillman Road to Stardale Drive. The $2.1 million in drainage improvements included new stormwater pipe, bioswales and ditches, and in partnership with the Public Works Division, more than a mile’s worth of new sidewalks for the project constructed by Crosby Excavating.

Phase 2, which is underway now, will have similar drainage improvements but more extensive in scope, stretching from Stardale to Oxford Street. Phase 2 will have totals of 3.5 miles of ditches, bioswales and stormwater pipe, along sidewalks on both sides, totaling 2.7 miles. Contractor, API Construction, will also replace a portion of the water main and a sanitary sewer as part of the $3.87 million investment.  

 “Our stormwater team is excited to see the Hessen Cassel project move forward. We’ve been working with the residents along Hessen Cassel for a few years now, and I know they share in our excitement,” said Anne Marie Smrchek, Engineering Manager for Sewer and Stormwater. “We are pleased to be able to address the drainage issues in the area and to be able to partner with Public Works to bring the much-needed sidewalks that will provide safe connectivity for pedestrians and bicyclists.”  

The neighborhoods benefiting from the multi-phase Hessen Cassel project include Branning Hills, Casselwood Terrace, Eastland Gardens, Hickory Grove, Trier Ridge Park, Rolling Rose, Village Wood Community, Congress-McKinnie, Village Green, Colonial Heritage, Hoevelwood and Greater McMillen Park. 

Fulfilling the Plan

In a continued commitment to improving drainage, reducing basement back-ups and street flooding, City Utilities launched an aggressive improvement plan beginning 15 years ago. From 2006 to 2016, City Utilities completed more than 30 large projects and hundreds of smaller ones. 

In 2017, City Utilities moved forward with 32 large neighborhood improvement projects, again coupled with hundreds of smaller projects to continue drainage improvements. In a five-year period from 2017-2022, City Utilities is investing $40 million in stormwater improvements. As you can see from the attached map, those promised projects continue to move forward. 

In just over three years, 19 major projects saw improvements in the areas of Aboite Meadows, Ardmore/Airport Expressway, Decatur Road, Fernwood Dalevue Phase 2, Hadley Road, Harrison/Superior, Hessen Cassel Phase 1, Lawrence Drain 2, Limberlost, Louisedale, Maplewood, Pine Valley 2, Pine Valley 3, Plymouth, Rothman/Tamarack, E. Rudisill & S. Anthony, St. Croix, Stone Lake, Warsaw, Willowdale. Another nine projects are underway in construction or design phases, and the remaining four will begin soon.

“Our stormwater team is committed to protecting neighborhoods, improving stormwater drainage and safeguarding our rivers,” said Smrchek. “We appreciate the cooperation and support of our residents as we move forward with projects to solve problems and strengthen their neighborhood for the future.” 

An additional portion of the Hessen Cassel project will begin in the spring in the Colonial Heritage neighborhood. The project will include a wetland with a small trail system winding through the wetland.