Architect Eric R. Kuhne was commissioned to design a flood control plan that would provide for a park and premier festival center. It could also serve as a model for flood control in other sections of the country. The Headwaters Park Commission was formed to implement and fund the plan that is now Headwaters Park. Construction to develop approximately thirty acres in the "Thumb" began in 1994 and was completed in 1999. There are approximately twenty acres of parkland that lie in the floodplain. About ten acres comprise the festival plaza and parking lots that were constructed on higher ground. Headwaters Park was created by the citizens of Fort Wayne through their donations, ideas, and labor as a means of flood control in the city. Earlier designs conveyed a similar purpose. George Kessler's plan envisioned a green space for recreation in the great bend of the St. Mary's River to absorb springtime floods, as did the park design submitted to the city by Robert Hanna. Mayor Win Moses called for the construction of the park in 1981, one year before the great flood of 1982. In 1984, the Indiana Department of Transportation also developed a plan for the downtown flood plain. Mayor Ivan Lebamoff urged that the City Lights Fund, created from the sale of the City Lights Utility in 1974 to Indiana & Michigan Electric Company, be used for certain civic development funding, including Headwaters Park. Mayor Paul Helmke committed this money along with state funds for land acquisition and building demolition. The Headwaters Park Commission raised ten million dollars from the private sector to build the park and festival center. On October 22, 1999, Fort Wayne's 205th birthday, the Headwaters Flood Control and Park Project was dedicated to the citizens of Fort Wayne.
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