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The event will raise funds toward expanding the year-round flower planter program (currently located on Calhoun Street between Berry Street and Jefferson Boulevard).

Groundhog Open to benefit downtown

Statement issued Thursday:

Fort Wayne – The First Annual Groundhog Open is coming to Fort Wayne! The Fort Wayne Downtown Improvement District and the Fort Wayne / Allen County Economic Development Alliance join forces to announce an indoor golf tournament to benefit downtown beautification.

The Groundhog Day Open will be held on Groundhog Day (February 2), 2012 on a beautiful 18-hole championship putting course laid out between the Grand Wayne Center, the Embassy Theater / Indiana Hotel, and the downtown Courtyard by Marriott. Designed by some of Fort Wayne’s most talented design and landscape professionals, this extraordinary layout, crossing Jefferson Boulevard and Harrison Street will challenge even the most skilled golfer!

The Ground Hog open will feature four flights of golfers, two each in the morning and afternoon, with closing ceremonies and prizes awarded at 7:15 pm following the last group to play. Four person teams may sign up at $100 per player.

Title Sponsors for the event are Fort Wayne Newspapers and St Joseph Hospital.

The event will raise funds toward expanding the year-round flower planter program (currently located on Calhoun Street between Berry Street and Jefferson Boulevard). The planters were established by the City as part of the 2009 - 2010 renovations of Calhoun Street, and are maintained by the Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation Department, with support of the Downtown Improvement District. The extraordinary popularity of the floral streetscape with downtown employees and visitors has led to requests for expansion of planter program. Intensively cultivated and watered under contract to the Parks & Recreation Department, the four-season maintenance for each planter averages about $400 per year, in addition to the cost of the planters themselves.

“The planter program has been so successful, that the City welcomed the involvement of the Alliance and the Downtown Improvement District to help expand it further throughout the downtown,” notes Mayor Tom Henry. “The partnership of local businesses and the involvement of designers and landscapers in this event has been really exciting to see!”

Rich Davis, President of the Downtown Improvement District, credits the event Chairman, Karl Bandemer, Senior Development Officer for the Fort Wayne / Allen County Economic Development Alliance, for launching the Groundhog Open as a way to enlist the support of the private sector for downtown beautification. “We are very pleased with the title sponsorship of Fort Wayne Newspapers and St Joseph Hospital, and for their partnership in many of our downtown events and initiatives,” he adds.

“In the past few years, we’ve been pleased to see the level of support for downtown as a fun, clean, and beautiful place, has grown in proportion to the development of great public spaces,” Davis explains. “On the day-to-day level, we’ve seen that people respond positively to the year-round maintenance that the DID’s Clean & Green Program, and the Parks & Recreation Department, put into the landscape and streetscape.” Davis lists Parkview Field and Calhoun Street as examples of public spaces designed for the enjoyment of city residents, downtown visitors, and downtown employees.

Sponsorship opportunities for the Groundhog Open are available. Eighteen hole sponsors have already committed to the event, but Golf Partner Sponsorships are still available for a $1000 contribution. Sponsorship includes two foursomes of players.

For further information on sponsorship, please contact Karl Bandemer, Event Chairman, at 469-2700.

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