Indianapolis parks grow with nearly $ 2 million in land purchases

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Indianapolis plans to purchase nearly $ 1.9 million of land for its parks and add about 89 acres to expand its green space, from Eagle Creek on the west side to Grassy Creek Regional Park on the east side.

Some of the purchases will be in addition to existing parks, either providing relief to growing areas of the county or completing a park’s long-term master plan. Others will provide starting points or green spaces near the city’s trails, a crucial decision as Indianapolis recently announced $ 25 million to expand and improve its trail system.

“We are excited about the additional funding and the opportunity to make park improvements and acquire land,” said Andre Denman, Senior Park Planner and Greenway Manager for Indy Parks and Recreation. “All of this has been necessary for a long time.

Land purchases representthe latest funding to support the parks. Indianapolis launched its Circle City Forward infrastructure improvement initiative last year, which spent $ 45 million on four parks. Last month, the city also announced it would use $ 17.5 million in federal coronavirus relief funds to upgrade 27 parks and add WiFi in 20 locations.

Funding is a rare large investment for the city, as the park system typically relies on donations ordevelopers who promise to provide green space in order to acquire new land, Denman noted.

“There really hasn’t been that much money to acquire so many acres,” he said.

Here’s a breakdown of planned purchases, most of which are still awaiting board approval.

Grassy Creek Regional Park

Four new plots will add 75 acres to Grassy Creek Regional Park in the far east, an area that Denman says has seen strong growth as agricultural fields evolved into residential subdivisions.

“The active part of Grassy Creek is jam-packed with the use of basketball, football and other uses,” he said. “With these new subdivisions coming online, it will just add more potential use to the park. “

Grassy Creek Regional Park is one of the city's largest parks, located in the eastern part of the city.

Two plots at 2800 and 2900 German Church Road will join the newly purchased landat 10702 E. 25th St. to extend Grassy Creek below 30th Street.

The 160-acre park is already one of the largest in the city and is also receiving $ 7 million in improvements. Plans for these expenses could include adding more picnic areas, converting existing tennis courts into space for other sports and a skate park.

The parks department can also convert a donated old railroad bed into greenway space, providing a walkway that stretches east for about a mile.

Grassy Creek Park will likely have a greenway space built on top of an abandoned railroad trail.

The new additions that expand the park to the south will cost $ 1.2 million. Denman hopes the funding could at least add more athletic fields and walking trails.

“For now, we’re just going to keep this natural until we’ve made it public and can identify funding for these improvements to happen,” he said.

Starting point for B&O trails, Eagle Creek

The three acres at 1501 N. High School Road are the key to the city’s expanding trail system and are located near the intersection of B&O and Eagle Creek trails.

A man walks the B&O Trail on Thursday, October 28, 2021 near Mickley Avenue.  Indianapolis is purchasing nearly $ 2 million in new land for its park system.  Some of the new lands will serve as jumping off points near existing trails such as the B&O Trail.

The land will serve as a parking area from which trail enthusiasts can head west on the B&O trail, which currently ends on the east side of Eagle Creek, or north or south on the trail. Eagle Creek.

A fallen leaf can be found on the B&O Trail, Thursday, October 28, 2021 at Mickley Avenue.  Indianapolis is purchasing nearly $ 2 million in new land for its park system.  Some of the new grounds will serve as the starting point for existing trails such as the B&O Trail.

The cost: $ 63,800.

The parking lot could be a heavily used entry point as the city expands the Eagle Creek Trail, extending the path that currently ends along Oceanline Drive – south of the Eagle Creek Reservoir – to 10th Street.

Future plans could also include connecting the existing B&O trail with the rest of the trail in neighboring Hendricks County to the west.

Pocket Park near Pennsy Trail

The small 0.2 acre parcel at 7240 Dewey Avenue on the east side was the last remaining space the Parks Department hoped to acquire below the Pennsy Trail.

A sign marks the Pennsy Trail on Thursday, October 28, 2021 through Shortridge Road.  Indianapolis is purchasing nearly $ 2 million in new land for its park system.  Some of the new lands will serve as the starting point for existing trails such as the B&O and Pennsy trails.

The $ 43,500 purchase – which council approved last month – will complement existing land the ministry had previously purchased along Dewey Avenue, allowing for a pocket park and trail to the Pennsy.

More land for Eagle Creek Park

A 10 acre parcel at 8851 W. 42nd St. will be added to Eagle Creek Park.

The land offers the option of creating native prairie space or perhaps overnight camping spots, Denman said.

“There have always been requests for overnight camping near the park, as well as a trailhead,” he said, noting that the park starts right across the street.

The Eagle Creek Foundation will donate $ 175,000 for the price of $ 553,175.

“There isn’t a lot of vacant land adjacent to Eagle Creek Park to add to the park,” Denman said. “And so when it did become available, we wanted to take advantage of it before it became something else, some kind of business development or whatever.”

Call IndyStar reporter Amelia Pak-Harvey at 317-444-6175 or email her at apakharvey@indystar.com. Follow her on Twitter @AmeliaPakHarvey.



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