Project lays out plan to upgrade Indianapolis parks

Published: .
Updated: .

Several Indianapolis parks will turn into construction zones this summer. Work is already underway or set to begin on 45 projects at 16 parks.

Tuesday morning, the Indianapolis Parks Foundation outlined the list of projects which include new or renovated playground equipment, basketball courts, shelters, spray grounds and walking trails.

The bulk of the work is being paid for in large part by a $10 million grant from the Lilly Endowment, which was awarded to the parks foundation in late 2012.

Indy Parks spent 2013 deciding how to divvy up the money.

Lori Hazlett, president of the Indianapolis Parks Foundation said the grant is a "significant" help.

"As you know, most city budgets were cut. Parks was cut and (through the grant) we can leverage more money to get more done," Hazlett said.

Hazlett said the parks and projects were selected on need.

"We, typically, at the Parks Foundation have gone into the less-celebrated parks and more of the neighborhood parks. That makes a bigger impact with less money," she said.

The morning news conference took place at Haughville Park on the city's west side. It's getting a new parking lot and shelter as well as upgrades to its playground and spray ground, which is Indy Parks' oldest.

Greene Park on the city's east side is in line for similar improvements. Nearby residents who walk the park daily, have been keeping tabs on construction.

Jody Davis said, "I think the improvements are needed. It's been the same around here for 14 years, so it's good."

Brenda Jeffers agreed, saying, "It's just a nice safe area. We have a lot of children in the area. It will be exciting" to have new amenities.

At Gardner Park, two seldom-used tennis courts will be turned into new basketball courts. The park is also getting an expanded playground.

Corey Hooten, who sat on one of the picnic tables, said he's glad to see more money going into city parks, "'cause kids need to be busy doing something productive."

He said the park improvements will also help the surrounding area.

"If everyone shows they care, then other people will start caring, too, so I think it's a good thing they're doing the parks up," Hooten said.

Darlene Grein, who lives alongside Gardner Park, said she looks forward to the new walking trail planned for the park. She also thinks it's great the Lilly Endowment is paying for the upgrades.

"I think that's the way most things get done. I wish the Lilly Endowment would give me a little money," she laughed.

IPL, United Water, Pacers Sports & Entertainment, 3Mgives and Finish Line have also provided some funding.

Most of the improvements at the 16 parks should be done by summer's end.

Also, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard is working on getting council approval for his "Rebuild Indy 2" plan, which will dedicate nearly $15 million to Indy Parks. They're investments the city sees as a high priority in protecting our crown jewels.

Project Details

Garfield Park - Renovate outdoor basketball court
Olin Park - Renovate outdoor basketball court
61st & Broadway Park - Install permanent restroom
Bertha Ross Park - Install shelter and water spray ground, upgrade playground equipment, renovate and relocate basketball court
Haughville Park - Install parking lot and shelter, upgrade water spray ground and playground equipment
Dubarry Park - Install shelter and permanent restroom and playground, convert tennis courts to basketball
Greene Park - Install water spray ground, expand parking lot, upgrade playground equipment
Wildwood Park - Install playground, water spray ground, permanent restroom, parking lot and sidewalks
Gardner Park - Renovate walking trail and basketball courts, upgrade playground equipment
Stout Field Park - Install water spray ground, permanent restroom and shelter, upgrade playground equipment and walking trail
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park - Upgrade playground equipment and shelter
Bel Aire Park - Install permanent restroom, soccer field and shelter, upgrade playground equipment
Frank & Judy O'Bannon Soccer Park - Install permanent restroom, irrigation and field renovation complete
Eagle Creek Park - Install Geothermal Pond at Earth Discovery Center
Tarkington Park - Install shelters, upgrade playground equipment
Chuck Klein Softball Complex - Facility renovation in partnership with the City of Indianapolis

An upgrade to the water spray ground at Municipal Gardens Park and a new basketball court at Thatcher Park have been completed.