Navigating Indianapolis’ ‘Circle City’

June 5, 2018, Department, by Tom Crosley

2018 June NRPA Update Navigating Indy 410

Most of us have been guilty of this in the past: We visit a conference city for three or four days, returning home and then realizing we only saw the inside of an airport, taxi cab, hotel room and conference center. So how do we get a meaningful connection with the conference host city?

A great way to build a connection with the “Circle City” of Indianapolis and the surrounding area is to take advantage of one of the Off-Site Institutes (OSI) or Mobile Workshops that we’ve expanded for the 2018 NRPA Annual Conference. Here is just a small sampling of some of the highlights:

OSI #6 Garfield Park: Transforming the City’s Oldest Park
Dating back to 1889, before there was an official park system in Indianapolis, Garfield Park has been preserved as a jewel of the George E. Kessler Park and Boulevard System. There was a time when the park and the surrounding neighborhood had fallen on hard times and was avoided by many visitors. Thanks to passionate neighbors, the Friends of Garfield Park, the staff, and local foundations and partners, the legacy and classic character of the park have been embraced and updated to provide amenities and programs that fit with the artsy Garfield and neighboring Fountain Square cultural districts. Attendees will get to explore the Cultural Trail, Pleasant Run Trail and Garfield Park’s sunken gardens, Conservatory, Art and Family Centers, and programs offered.

OSI #7 Friends Groups and Foundations: A Key to Leveraging Resources for Your Park
A park can’t live on tax dollars alone — enter the friends group or foundation. These entities are not bound by the normal restrictions of the local government and, as such, can get a tremendous amount done IF everyone is on the same page! We will visit three Indianapolis parks with different approaches to community engagement: Holliday Park, Garfield Park and Eagle Creek Park.

OSI #13 Indy’s Pro Sports Facilities: In a League of Their Own
How far are you from a professional grade facility? Maybe not as far as you think! We’ll look at some local facilities, give folks time to ask some questions, and dive in to how each sports franchise gives back to the community.

Mobile Workshop: Connecting People to the White River Through the Riverside Park Master Plan
Regional Park, a 862-acre park along the White River, is the second-largest public space in Indianapolis. However, development pressures, changing trends, budget challenges, as well as a community that’s disconnected from the White River because of pollution and flood-control structures resulted in the need for a master plan. This session will review the park’s master planning process with an emphasis on how this plan is part of a larger effort to restore the White River, including promoting stewardship and appreciation for the river through recreational opportunities for residents. Join our adventure to envision the future Riverside Park through a bike ride and a float down the river.

Preregistration is required for each OSI and Mobile Workshop and these opportunities to explore the host city fill up fast. So, I encourage you to check out the full list of workshops today.

Tom Crosley, is NRPA’s Senior Manager of Education