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New agreement allows Indy Parks to manage University Park

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Posted at 10:56 PM, Jul 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-19 23:18:39-04

INDIANAPOLIS — On Wednesday, the City of Indianapolis announced a partnership with the Indiana War Memorial Commission to manage University Park.

University Park is owned by the state, but the new agreement will let Indy Parks and IMPD take measures to keep the area safe.

On Wednesday afternoon, Carly Kerndt was walking her dog at the park.

"Some days are worse than others. Usually, especially at night, I make sure my boyfriend's with me," Kerndt said.

Kerndt visits the park about three times a day and says many people experiencing homelessness hang out at University Park.

"They feed the homeless in the parks a couple days a week, which I think is amazing that they're feeding the homeless, but it definitely can make the area feel a little bit unsafe. There's often fights that break out here. There's police cars that come more than once a week, so it just feels like a very unsettled area most days," Kerndt said.

"It depends on the crew that's here. I would say a lot of the homeless population tends to congregate here, and when there's a lot of men in big groups, I tend to avoid walking through the park," said Allie Towriss, who lives nearby.

Across Marion County, there have been issues at parks this year, including three shootings.

In May 2022, a woman was stabbed to death during a fight at University Park. The City of Indianapolis is now working to keep these green spaces safe.

"Folks come to the park and they bring their children or they want to have a picnic. Again, we want folks to feel safe throughout the Circle City," IMPD Officer William Young said.

The city came to an agreement with the Indiana War Memorials Commission. They'll still keep ownership, but the park will be under Indy Park rules.

Under the new rules, the use of alcohol is not permitted, park hours are dawn to dusk, all animals must be on a leash, weapons are not allowed to be discharged and permits are required for special events. Also, a mobile IMPD public safety camera has been placed at the park.

"Our mobile public safety cameras are already up as you can tell. However, we'll increase bike and foot patrol through out the downtown area," Young said.