FORT WAYNE, Ind. (ADAMS) – Downtown Fort Wayne announced support from the Knight Foundation to improve the outdoor space experience at PNC Plaza. The grant, made possible through the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne, will help provide sunshade sails to cover the outdoor seating and activity area adjacent to Sweets on Main.
This is the second year PNC Plaza has become a gathering area to help connect the community and visitors to local attractions, businesses and entertainment. To date, almost 23,000 people have visited the plaza. This past weekend, the plaza hosted the Downtown Fort Wayne Sidewalk Sale, and on September 23, it will host the 2022 Art Crawl, the annual fundraiser for Art This Way, a program of Downtown Fort Wayne.
The Downtown Improvement District released the following:
“We piloted PNC Plaza last year with the intent to attract our neighbors, their families and visitors to gather at a fun, interactive public space, but more importantly to amplify reasons to dine, shop or be entertained in Downtown Fort Wayne,” said Michael Galbraith, president, Downtown Fort Wayne. “With support from PNC Bank and other partners, the plaza continues to make Downtown Fort Wayne even more attractive, as we all work together to further the revitalization of northeast Indiana.”
PNC Plaza is located strategically in the heart of Downtown to help connect the public to prominent access points throughout the city, from The Landing and Promenade Park to the Embassy Theatre and TinCaps Stadium at Parkview Field. Traditionally known as the site of Fort Wayne’s popular “Santa and His Reindeer” display during the holidays, the space spans a portion of the western edge of PNC Bank’s parking lot on Main Street next to Sweets on Main.
“The brightly colored gathering space of PNC Plaza has revitalized this section of Main Street and helped peak interest for visitors to explore not only the perimeter, but the core 99 blocks of our Downtown area,” said Corinna Ladd, PNC regional president of northern Indiana. “Intentionally curated, the locations and points of interest around the plaza, help promote accessibility, comfort, and safety, serving as a welcoming ground for diversity and inclusiveness.”
The public space includes outdoor dining tables and chairs, a life-size chessboard, an oversized version of the game Twister, bike racks, umbrella shade sails, and Lyndy Bazile’s “Pontiac”—a mural installation provided by Art This Way. A Service Animal Relief Area (SARA), made possible from funding from the AWS Foundation, was installed earlier this year to provide service animal amenities to the public.
PNC Plaza was initiated in response to the pandemic and the need for expanded outdoor dining options throughout the city. Implemented by Downtown Fort Wayne, the parklet initiative continues the work outlined in the City of Fort Wayne’s Downtown Fort Wayne Public Realm Action Plan—a Public Space and Public Life Study produced by internationally recognized urban design firm Gehl.