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Indy Parks Plan – Your Opportunity for Feedback

At the April Nora Alliance meeting, we gathered input to the Indy Parks, Recreation, and Open Space 5-Year Plan. The DRAFT document linked below is an outcome of that meeting, submitted to Indy Parks in June 2015.

This is an open, transparent, and community-let effort. Like it? Don’t like it? Your comments, constructive criticism, praise, ideas, alternatives, input, and priorities are welcomed!

Please comment below, or on Facebook, Twitter (#noraparksplan), or email by June 3rd, 2015.

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(download: http://noraindy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Nora-ParksPlanFeedback.pdf)

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If You Could Design Nora’s Future Parks…

What would it look like?

Indy Parks Begins 5-Yr Master Planning: Washington Township

On March 4th, 2015, Indy Parks kicked off their master planning process for Washington Township. While the master plan will be for the entire city, their approach will be to look at each township individually.

Now is the time to get involved in the process for Washington Township!

Indy Parks Master Plan

The parks department evaluates the path their extensive park system will take every five years. The goal of this project is to engage the community, leadership and stakeholders in a meaningful and innovative public input process to build a shared vision for parks and recreation that supports the economic and community goals of the City of Indianapolis. PROS Consulting is a nationally recognized firm, headquartered in Indianapolis and will lead Indy Parks to a great sustainable plan to move forward.

The duration of the project from start to finish is 10 months with an anticipated completion date by December 2015.

This is a community-input driven process and the outcome and future recommendations will be driven by the needs and vision articulated by the community members.

Through the ‘Participate’ section on the Plan Indy Parks website – www.planindyparks.com, you can provide open ended suggestions, respond to the online survey, know the dates for open public meetings and even share feedback through social media on Facebook and Twitter.

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Oliver’s Woods to Become Central Indiana Land Trust Headquarters

Oliver’s Woods is a 53-acre nature preserve located in Nora near the Keystone at the Crossing shopping area. It was left to the Central Indiana Land Trust by Mr. Oliver Daugherty, who passed away in 2009.

The 53-acre property includes 16 acres of woods, 37 acres of prairie-savanna restoration, and a mile of frontage along the White River. The southern half of the popular Town Run Trail Park is encompassed within this property. The mountain bike trails will remain in place, as was agreed upon by Mr. Daugherty and Indy Parks. The remaining portion of the property will eventually serve as the Central Indiana Land Trust’s headquarters, and hiking trails will be added for nature walks and wildlife viewing.

“This nature preserve is not yet officially open to the public, but we look forward to sharing it with the community soon,” states the Central Indiana Land Trust website.

Photo credit: IndyStar

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Town Run Trail Park

Town Run Trail is a 127-acre natural resource park on the eastern edge of Nora. With approximately seven miles of packed dirt trails, it is a haven for mountain bikers.  Town Run Trail Park is one of two public sites for off-road mountain bike trail riding in the Indianapolis metropolitan area. Town Run also supports a varied amount of non-mountain biking groups including trail running, hiking, fishing, kayaking/canoeing, and other nature-observing activities.

The current trail system at Town Run provides a good beginner and intermediate level experience. The addition of a skills & challenge area at Town Run is the next step in the development of the park. The southern section of trails is on a Central Indiana Land Trust parcel called Oliver’s Woods Nature Preserve.

Town Run Trail Park is managed by Indy Parks. There is currently no fee to access this park or the trails. The entrance to this trail is at 5325 E. 96th Street, Indianapolis, IN and the open/closed status can be obtained by calling (317) 327-PARK.

This trail closes frequently during wetter seasons due to inundation of the floodplain.

Members from the Hoosier Mountain Bike Association (HMBA) volunteer their time and skills for installation & maintenance. They also  maintain a webpage that includes valuable information, such as trail status, current weather, river gage readings, and an interactive story map. Check out the HMBA Forums for information about trail conditions, trail work, and rides. There is also a good history lesson and aerial photos of the area dating back to 1941 on the HMBA forums.

“The terrain of this trail is very open, flowy, and fast. Sections along the levee have a very roller coaster feel to them. The return segment of the trail north of the I-465 bridge is very narrow and somewhat technical in parts, however. This trail can have very high traffic on nice days, and watch out for families and new riders riding slowly along the trail,” reads the MTBProject website. Check out their excellent and detailed overview and description of the trail, including downloadable GPX file, before you ride.

Also check out the Town Run Trail – Indianapolis Facebook page for additional information.

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Northtown Trail Plan

The Northtown Trail is a proposed east-west greenway connection of the Indy Full Circle Greenways Plan. It completes the east-west connection between Fort Harrison State Park and Eagle Creek Park. Along its route, it connects to many neighborhood and community parks, greenways, residential centers, and commercial nodes. It also opens up new recreational access to the White River. Its central section would cross the southern portion of Nora, and includes a proposed trailhead at 75th Street at its intersection with the Monon Trail.

Although the Northtown Trail is new to the greenways master plan, the route had previously been identified in the Indianapolis Bikeways Master Plan as an east-west connection across the north side of the city. Bike lanes are already in place across the entire length and several small sections of sidepaths are either already in place or in the planning process. This plan elevates the design of these sidepaths to the greenways design standard.

Indy Full Circle Greenways Plan

Indy Parks and the Department of Public Works have released the approved Indy Greenways Full Circle Plan.  The master plan is the result of a year-long planning process that included extensive public engagement and input.  It outlines the long-term, comprehensive vision for trail and greenway development in the City.

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82nd/86th St Commercial Connector Plan

Indianapolis is in the midst of a revolution in terms of constructing new pedestrian and bicycle facilities, whether they be sidewalks, bike lanes, or sidepaths. There is even a separate Bikeways Master Plan that identifies the long-term vision for providing greater connectivity for the entire city.

The strength of this plan is that it ties the greenway system into that larger system and in the end, this plan is intended to accept and connect to all of those different types of “connections.” During the master planning process, it was determined that a connection to the major commercial centers in the city was desired. One major commercial corridor is the 82nd Street/86th Street corridor extending east and west through Nora.

From the Keystone Fashion Mall, the proposed route crosses 86th Street at the western off ramp of Keystone Avenue and then follows the south side of the street another mile west to the Monon Trail. In this section of the route, the trail passes through residential areas and connects to North Central High School. At the Monon Trail, the route again crosses 86th Street and follows the north side of the street for 6.75 miles, passing several additional commercial centers and neighborhoods continuing to the Traders Point commercial center.

The 82nd/86th Street Commercial Connector provides an opportunity for the greenways to provide pedestrian and bicycle connections to several major commercial areas in the city. Its implementation would provide a unique type of experience in the city. This route is in the very early stages of conceptual development and will need additional study to determine the exact alignment and more detail on how this greenway is incorporated into this high-vehicular volume corridor in the safest manner possible.

Indy Full Circle Greenways Plan

Indy Parks and the Department of Public Works have released the approved Indy Greenways Full Circle Plan.  The master plan is the result of a year-long planning process that included extensive public engagement and input.  It outlines the long-term, comprehensive vision for trail and greenway development in the City.

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Monon Trail

Indianapolis’ premier rail-trail and greenway originates in Nora.

Originating in Nora, the Monon Trail is a colossus in the world of Midwest rail-trails. The trail is a safe, attractive, and well designed urban greenway. In 2005, the Monon Trail was used more than 1.2 million times, making this urban greenway perhaps one of the busiest in the nation.

Originally built in 1847, the rail-trail pioneered in Indiana an already nation-wide vision: converting railways to greenways for recreation and commuter use. The Monon links commercial districts, schools, parks, the state fairgrounds and a dozen residential neighborhoods between Indianapolis and the northern suburb of Westfield.

Implementation of the Monon Rail Trail Plan began in 1995 with the construction of the trail between 86th Street and Westfield Boulevard, a length of 2.96 miles. This section of the trail is perhaps the most scenic since the trail crosses the White River, the White River overflow and the Central Canal.

Major features of this section include the bridge structures painted in the original Monon red. Much of the original structures of the railroad bridges were restored and new decks and railings were installed. The overlooks on the White River Bridge are very popular viewing areas. Major linkages within this section include the commercial areas of Nora and Broad Ripple, the Jordan YMCA, the Indiana School for the Blind, the Indianapolis Art Center, the White River and the Central Canal Towpath.

In 1997, the one mile trail section between 86th Street and 96th Street, was constructed. In order to provide a safe crossing of 86th Street, a new pedestrian activated traffic signal was installed just east of the trail. Railings were provided along 86th Street to direct trail users to this crossing. Parking next to the trail at 91st Street was constructed to alleviate parking problems in the 86th Street commercial properties.

The Monon Trail – completed in 2003 – Indianapolis section measurers approximately 10.4 miles from 10th Street to 96th Street in Nora, where it connects with the 5.2-mile Monon Greenway in Carmel then extends into Westfield.

The Monon Trail has been widely recognized by several organizations. In 1999, it was given the Millennial Trail Designation by the Federal Trails Program. In 2000, it was recognized as a Millenium State Legacy Trail, and in 2002 it was designated as a National Recreation Trail.

One of our favorite bogs, Historic Indianapolis, publishes an informative history of the Monon Trail.

The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy provides a descriptive overview of what to expect along sections of this awesome trail.

Image credit: VisitIndy
Sources: Indy Greenways Master Plan