Groundbreaking Ceremony Held for Gateway Park

Officials from the City of Wheeling joined representatives of the Fitzsimmons Foundation Thursday morning for a groundbreaking ceremony for Gateway Park. Intended to celebrate the history of the Wheeling Suspension Bridge, the park is being developed on an acre of city-owned land just south of the span on Wheeling Island’s South Front Street.

Rendering of what the future Gateway Park will look like once its completed.

The Fitzsimmons Foundation has gifted $150,000 to the City of Wheeling for the completion of two phases out of the six-phase project.

City Manager Robert Herron said he is pleased the project is moving forward.

“Gateway Park will enhance our City and provide a great place for people to enjoy another aspect of our waterfront. I want to thank the Fitzsimmons Foundation for their donation. Their support will provide some great momentum for moving this project forward,” he said.

Kayleen Fitzsimmons Clough of the Fitzsimmons Foundation said the organization is pleased support the Gateway Park project.

“With the recent announcement of the plans to rehabilitate the historic Suspension Bridge, the Fitzsimmons Foundation is excited this project is finally underway. It will complement all the new development happening right now in Downtown Wheeling. We feel The Gateway Park will bring a spark not only to Wheeling Island, but also the entire City. It will provide a wonderful place for residents and visitors to enjoy our beautiful waterfront,” she said. 

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Mayor Glenn Elliott said the park will be another great asset in the City of Wheeling.

“The Wheeling Suspension Bridge is an integral piece of Wheeling history, solidifying our City’s role as the Gateway to the West in the late 19th Century.  Through the construction of Gateway Park, it is our hope not only to celebrate the span of this magnificent structure but also to showcase its historical significance. This park will also serve the dual purposes of enhancing Wheeling Island and activating more parts of our Ohio River waterfront.  We are grateful for the generous gift from the Fitzsimmons Foundation that is helping to make this attraction a reality,” he said.

Phase 1 of the project will be the construction of the bridge plaza, which will include an access point to the open green space. The second phase that will be funded through the Foundation’s gift will enhance South Front Street and will provide a gateway to the park. The master plan for the project consists of six phases that include but are not limited to a boat dock and kayak launch; renovation of Ohio Street to include parking, improved streetscape and landscaping; the development of a large plaza and community gathering place; and a history walk and scenic overlook. The park design grew out of a community-driven process that included input from the community and stakeholders.