Yesterday evening I ate at Nick’s Riverside Lounge, the open air eatery perched on the banks of the St. Marys River behind Hall’s Old Gas House. What a relaxing environment! The Lounge is easily accessible and parking is in the same area as the Gas House. The new addition, located at the east side of the lengthy lounge, is just about done.
Diners can select seating, either in open spaces or covered gazebo areas. We chose seating in the gazebo at the west end since the early evening sun was still fiercely hot. I absolutely encourage residents to visit this establishment – it is an excellent example of riverfront improvement rather than riverfront destruction.
Too often the City and its planners focus on walling in our rivers with distasteful and graffiti-prone concrete walls or bulky earthen levees, implanting treeless walkways atop a few of the structures for those who are physically cabable of the effort to bike, walk, or jog along the pathways. This focus deprives Fort Wayne citizens of the true beauty of our rivers – the natural environment – which is usually destroyed during the construction of levees and walls.
During the couple of hours spent at Nick’s, I saw people strolling along the edge of the river taking pictures, enjoying the breeze and the ambiance of the location. The gazebo area where I was seated was next to a huge old elm tree with bark reflecting the diamond shape pattern common to the elm. Elms can attain a diameter of two or three feet, occasionally more – the one next to the gazebo is probably two to two and a half feet in diameter. It is a beautiful specimen which contributes to the atmosphere of the Lounge.
This is riverfront improvement ……..
And this is riverfront improvement – the St. Marys River – looking west from the gazebo at Nick’s Riverside Lounge……
This is not …….
Too often the term “riverfront development” translates into riverfront destruction using methods that remove the natural environment of our rivers. The City is now in the process of constructing more walls and levees – walling off more of our rivers to provide questionable flood protection measures. Every wall, levee, or berm that is raised in the name of flood protection in one part of the City results in displacement of flood waters to other locations, whether upstream or downstream.
It truly would be a shame if the efforts put forth by the Halls to provide true riverfront improvement fell victim to future increased river waters forced downstream by the City’s new round of flood walls, berms, and levees.