- Associated Press - Thursday, April 27, 2017

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) - Residents in a northeastern Indiana city can expect to see a “duck boat” floating around the city’s three rivers this summer as part of an attempt to bring more activity to the riverfront.

The Journal Gazette (https://bit.ly/2qbRwuE ) reported the amphibious vehicle can seat 20 people and will offer a 90-minute land-and-water tour in downtown Fort Wayne. The boat was purchased by nonprofit Friends of the Rivers and is one of two boats launching this summer. Board president Irene Walters said the duck boat costs about $52,000 including repairs.

Parkview Health will sponsor the other boat, a 40-passenger replica of an 1840s luxury canal boat, during its first season.

“The rivers are such an asset for us,” said Mike Packnett, CEO of Parkview Health. “There’s just something magical about water to bring people together.”

Economic development experts have said Fort Wayne’s waterways were an underdeveloped resource. Dragon boat races, pontoon tours and small boat rentals have tried to draw attention to the rivers in recent years.

A $70 million riverfront development project begins this summer and will include an outdoor amphitheater, a tree canopy trail, a pavilion, an event lawn, an entry plaza and children’s play area.

“Everybody is excited,” Walters said. “Everybody wants this to succeed.”

Fort Wayne will join Boston, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Washington and other cities nationwide that have turned duck boats into tourism vehicles.

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Information from: The Journal Gazette, https://www.journalgazette.net

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