Indy Parks Plan Feedback: What We Heard

Opening & Introductions

Local resident Bob Weaver kicked off the April 28th, 2015, Nora Alliance meeting with introductions and background from the first meeting of the Nora Alliance. We will be soliciting a steering committee to guide the first year of Nora Alliance activities and proactive community planning.

Indianapolis – Marion County Park, Recreation & Open Space 5-Year Plan Community Input

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 look at each township individually. 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.

Tonight we solicited feedback for a community response to the plan. Local resident Jill Saligoe-Simmel gave an overview of Nora-area parks and the Indy Parks planning process, and a discussion followed. The group listed several pros and cons of Nora’s public and private park, open space and recreational facilities.

Idea Gallery

Here’s a summary of what we heard:

  1. The Monon Trail is the prominent feature in our community, however its potential as an anchor feature in the community is not realized to its fullest potential. People identified this as a priority for parks and open space planning, indicating they would like to see more enhancement of the park / greenway as a community asset beyond its use as a recreational thoroughfare. The general consensus is that priority should be placed on a number of small, relatively low cost projects that could be implemented quickly to great effect.
    1. Visually and physically develop the trail from 91st north to at least the YMCA south as the community’s anchor feature, utilizing every available inch of trail ROW for green space, formal and informal gathering spots (i.e., micro-parks), and pocket parks.
    2. Visually and physically develop the Monon Trail at 86th Street road crossing as a safe crossing and community “gateway” feature. Priority should be focused both on addressing immediate safety needs and enhancements with the current crosswalk, as well as developing long-term solutions.
    3. Add public gathering spaces along the trail in this section through land acquisitions and/or joint use agreements for pocket parks adjacent to trail, micro-parks, and potentially a dog park.
    4. Integrate public art into this section of the trail.
    5. Spaces should be inviting, casual, welcoming, and incorporate some small details to surprise/delight/discover (e.g., hidden nooks). Needs to accommodate diverse users, including families with young children, bikers, skaters/rollerbladers, elderly, handicap, etc.
  2. Acquire additional park properties as neighborhood parks to serve families with children. Nora lacks neighborhood parks where families can gather, and kids can run and play.
  3. Implement the Full Circle Greenway Plan 86th/82nd Street Corridor to connect the Monon at 86th Street “gateway” with nearby parks and community assets, such as regional parks and commercial areas (e.g., Town Run Trail Park and Keystone at the Crossing), and planned public transportation projects, e.g., Red Line.
Opportunities

The following opportunities were discussed as community input to the Indy Parks and Open Space 5-Year Plan.

  1. The Monon Trail — Enhance the 86th St. trail crossing
    1. enhance the crosswalk for safety, as well as a visually/aesthetically pleasing community gateway
    2. painted crosswalk? — partner with North Central High School art department to help design and paint a crosswalk as public art, keep it local, show off our colorful community
    3. general maintenance — fix barriers on north side of street and fill pothole in crosswalk
    4. additional landscaping / hardscaping to create a welcoming / enticing environment
    5. improved signage, lighting, and pavement Ped-Xing markings for safety
    6. work with community for long-term plans for a safer crossing solution, e.g., trail bridge and/or other enhanced pedestrian crosswalk solution with traffic calming measures, etc.
  1. The Monon Trail — Develop Micro-Parks and Pocket Parks
    1. develop the small slice of land on trail next to Marsh building (DMD property parcel #8036430)
      1. ideas include: picnic tables, benches, game/chess tables, swing, bike racks, shelter (long and narrow building?) similar to shelter in Broad Ripple, water station, evergreen landscaping
      2. wheelchair accessible connection between south side of parcel and parking lot
    2. incorporate public art along trail – local artisits? sculptures?
    3. explore park partnership with the Indiana Blind School for expanded property access at Monon Trail for pocket park
  1. Explore opportunities to expand existing Indy Parks / IPL joint use agreement on IPL property adjoining the east and west sides of the Monon Trail at 91st St. This property houses a power substation, and although not ideal as park space, the community should be creative in capitalizing on any available open space.
    1. leverage existing Indy Park use agreements, e.g., trail parking lot and paths already in place (there was historic use as softball fields to the south of substation – now retirement apartments) to develop low-impact / non-competing park use on lands adjacent to the trail
    2. ideas include: dog park, skate park, small playground and benches near trail on south side of parking lot, micro-park trail rest stop, small stage for community music in the parks, community gardens, …
    3. property on east side of trail is less developed and has a creek – could it incorporate a low intensity park use? picnic shelters?
    4. explore possibilities with the community
  1. Explore every remaining opportunity to acquire property for neighborhood and pocket parks
    1. there are a few very opportunities left of private undeveloped property in Nora. These should be immediately explored, and if possible acquired, before there are simply no more opportunities left
    2. ideas: property to the north of Marsh only accessible from the Monon Trail? property (which includes woods and floodplain) on 86th St. north of North Central High School? Shortees Golf Course (if it doesn’t get zoning change approval for proposed development)?
  2. Explore enhanced park entrance / access point for Marott Park on Monon Trail side
  3. Explore possible new park entrance / access point for Town Run Trail Park in partnership with Central Indiana Land Trust and its proposed headquarters at Oliver’s Woods
Fill Out the Indy Parks Survey

We encourage you to fill out the Indy Parks Community Input Survey https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/IndyParks

We’re Not Done Yet

The ideas and input represent who we’ve heard from thus far. What are your ideas for parks, greenways and open space in Nora? What are your priorities? Comment below, or on Facebook, or Twitter (#noraparks), and let us know what you would like to see.

 

Great North Run Nora Washington Township Schools

2015 Great North Run & Fitness Fair Breaks Records

The Great North Run is a 10K, 5K & Fun Walk/Run through the North Central High School campus and surrounding Nora neighborhoods. The registration fee includes race, recovery station with food and a fitness fair. All events are open to all walkers and runners. Funds raised support programs in our schools that tax dollars do not provide.

It was a great day in so many ways: the weather, the people, the FUN. A record breaking 2131 runners and walkers plus countless friends turned out for this year’s Great North Run & Fitness Fair on Saturday, March 14, 2015. What a great way to support public education in Washington Township!

At the end of the day, the Great North Run is a fundraiser, and raise funds they did…the totals are in and the event netted more than $47,000 to help fund programs in all schools in the district. Thank you to the Washington Township Schools Foundation for sponsoring the event and to all those who participated!

Money for Your School

A portion of every registration is given directly back to schools designated by participants. The more registrations a school has, the larger their check will be!

Fitness Fair

After the race, a Fitness Fair was hosted in the North Central gym. This free community event combines wonderful vendors sharing resources to foster ongoing development of a healthy lifestyle along with fun activities for the whole family.

Event photographer: Annie Bartrom, NCHS Class of 2015

North Central Senior Accepted to Every Ivy League School

Stefan Stoykov, who scored a perfect 2400 on his SAT, has an inspirational story to tell about his journey from Bulgaria to the Nora community in Indianapolis.

While Stefan is clearly exceptional, his is also a story of how Washington Township schools help students from all backgrounds succeed. Nora Elementary, where Stefan first attended at age 8 not knowing any English, is known for its diverse international student population. Nearly 50% of Nora Elementary students were English language learners in 2014.

On his first day of school in the second grade at Nora Elementary, Stefan Stoykov sat in the corner of the classroom, feeling scared as he watched other students walk into the room. When they came up and spoke to him, he tried to make some sense of what they were saying. But he didn’t understand a word of English, so all he could do was bob his head.

Ten years later, Stoykov is graduating as the valedictorian of North Central High School, with a perfect SAT score that helped him win acceptances to all eight Ivy League schools — plus every one of the 10 other colleges to which he applied.

Stoykov’s long list of accomplishments includes:

Valedictorian (class of 802 students), perfect score on the SAT (2400), $2500 National Merit Scholarship, National AP Scholar, member of Student Council, Spirit Week Chair (for 3500 students), National Honor Society, Tutoring Chair, 3 of the Ivy League acceptances include full ride scholarship, and Academic Quiz Bowl.

“North Central High School and the IB (International Baccalaureate Diploma Program) have provided me the academic excellence required to achieve learning at a higher level,” he said.

Read more about Stefan’s personal journey in the IndyStar.

Leadership Opportunities: Join MSDWT Parent Council’s Excom!

MSDWT Parent Council is looking to fill one more leadership position on their Executive Committee. The President Elect position shadows the current president and would be Parent Council President in the 2016-2017 school year.
This is the group that plans our meetings, including researching topics and arranging guest speakers.
If you have an interest in the big picture of our school district or have ever thought “They should do…” or “If I were in charge…” then this is the leadership opportunity for YOU!
Please contact MSDWT Parent Council in person after the next meeting OR email them at  with any questions or to take on this important role!  Anticipate leadership election during the May 2015 meeting.