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Indy, Hamilton Co. leaders unveil new plan for White River

Posted at 4:01 PM, Jun 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-03 18:50:32-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Community leaders on Monday unveiled a regional plan to enhance 58 miles of the White River in Marion and Hamilton counties.

The White River Vision Plan is designed to provide a roadmap for making the White River a clean, natural, historic, connected and active asset for central Indiana to enjoy.

"Communities along the White River are experiencing a renaissance," Indianapolis Deputy Mayor Jeff Bennett said. "Downtown development is accelerating, arts and cultural institutions are expanding their visions, and parks and trails have contributed to a flourishing public realm. The White River is the next frontier."

LEARN MORE | White River Vision Plan

The plan for the two county river area examines nine principles that will guide decisions about environmental and ecological health, equity, public safety, and activation. The river corridor is organized into "river reach" zones where new ideas respond to each community's distinct character.

The plan also details in-depth explorations of seven "anchor areas," such as commercial corridors, historic districts, and cultural destinations along the river.

Here are some of the key recommendations for each of the seven anchor areas:

  • Strawtown Koteewi Park: Build on the park's regional success and existing master plan, focus on environmental health and historic interpretation, including a new trail from Potter's Bridge Park to Cicero, a viewing tower and an expanded area for launching kayaks and canoes, invasive species removal and historic signage and installations.
  • Downtown Noblesville: Support Noblesville's downtown revitalization with new riverfront links, including the incorporation of existing elements and projects like the Riverwalk and increased or enhanced river access, and new ideas like sustainable design practices, shadier streets and riverfront terraces.
  • Allisonville Stretch: Centered on the asset of Conner Prairie, this area focuses on community engagement to protect natural areas, support the existing Conner Prairie master plan, and local collaboration to improve pedestrian crossings.
  • Oliver's Crossing: Situated around I-465, Oliver's Woods and the surrounding retail destinations, this anchor district builds on the opportunity for nearby post-production quarry lands close to the river for flood storage and outdoor adventure activities programming, as well as recommendations to connect public open spaces in this stretch with trails and riverfront landowner partnerships.
  • Broad Ripple: Reconnects the area to its riverfront by relocating parking and connecting across the levee at 64th Street to Holliday Park via the planned Broad Ripple Riverwalk and trail. It protects the historic character of residential neighborhoods and Broad Ripple's commercial district, helps with early implementation of the planned boat launch, riverbank restoration, river walk, and terrace river edge projects. It also recommends that artists and the Indianapolis Art Center create temporary or permanent art installations.
  • Downtown Indianapolis: Building on key opportunities like the recent Riverside Park master plan and current needs of the Emrichsville Dam, the plan leverages partnerships to redesign the dam for multi-functional environmental, water quality, and recreational benefits to the neighboring Near Westside community and guides sustainable development outside the floodplain.
  • Southwestway Park: At the plan's southern boundary, this large ecological asset emphasizes environmental education through grant funding and a ranger "outpost," creates a new entrance from Southport Road, establishes multiple new river access points and recommends a 10-year restoration and management program.

The public can comment on the complete 222-page plan over the next 30 days by clicking here.