Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v16n07)
Broad Ripple Park Master Plan - family center - by Mario Morone
posted: Mar. 29, 2019
Indy Parks & Recreation has issued a master plan (20 to 25 year) project for Broad Ripple Park regarding its future upgrading of various areas. This will include a new community center and aquatics area. It also expands an existing woodland area, engages with nature and incorporates environmental education. Broad Ripple Park has over 300,000 annual visitors and is a vibrant part of Indianapolis.
Tom McCain is President of Friends of Broad Ripple Park, which is a non-profit 501(c) (3) group. "We support and endorse the 2018 Broad Ripple Park Master Plan, which was developed with input from hundreds of citizens both online and in multiple community meetings over several months," he explained.
"Among our favorite features are the greatly-improved, and much needed, Family Center, the event plaza to support the many public gatherings that take place in the park, enhanced access and engagement with White River, a new dog park, and greater opportunity for environmental education," McCain mentioned. "It will take time to create all the planned improvements, of course, but the end result will provide multiple activities for a diverse population for years into the future."
Colleen Fanning, Broad Ripple Village Association Executive Director and District 2 City-County Councilor, said, "This is a tremendous opportunity to improve Broad Ripple Park and transform the park's Family Center in a way that wouldn't otherwise be possible. Indianapolis is facing significant budget challenges with limited funds for parks and public recreation, let alone other urgent needs such as crime prevention and infrastructure. This requires communities to be innovative, and structuring this project as a public-private partnership provides numerous benefits. Community members voiced strong support for this option during the planning and public input process. My role is to now advocate for the best partnership structure, and we are making great progress. Broad Ripple Park will soon be more accessible, appealing and relevant to the current needs of our community."
Some questions that Ms. Fanning has recently answered include:
Q: What's happening at Broad Ripple Park? A: The parcel that currently houses the Family Center and its parking lot is being redeveloped via a public-private partnership. The Indianapolis Department of Metropolitan Development is managing the process and recently issued a Request for Proposals (Broad Ripple Park Request For Proposals). Potential development partners are currently being evaluated, and a final decision is expected in the near future.
Q: Why would we sell land or privatize our park? A: The land is not being sold. The land will always remain owned by the City and retain its current PK-1 (Primary Parks) zoning classification.
Q: Who will build and own the family center? A: While the City will continue to own the land, it will enter into a long-term ground lease with a selected development team. That development team would then construct the new Broad Ripple Park Family Center.
Q: Will the facility always be owned by the selected development team? A: No, the City intends to acquire the building in 3-5 years. At that time, the ground lease would cease to exist with the selected development team, and the City would own any structures and assume all leases with existing tenants (i.e., health care partner).
Q: Who would lease the space in the Broad Ripple Family Center? A: Once constructed, the development team will lease a portion to Indy Parks for parks programming and activation. The remaining space will be leased to an ancillary, subordinate health care partner. The health care partner would only run any non-park/public recreation services, such as wellness or healthcare services.
Q: Who is choosing the developer? What's the timeline? A: The City of Indianapolis has convened a selection committee comprised of staff from Indy Parks, Department of Metropolitan Development (DMD), and Mayor's Office staff, as well as community leadership/stakeholders. A recommendation will be made by the Selection Committee to either accept a bid or not accept any bids. In February 2018, Indy Parks released a Request for Information (RFI) to request ideas and information for the conceptual design, development, construction, and financing of a new family center and health care facility. In January 2019, a Request for Proposal (RFP) was released to develop a new family center (on the same site as the existing building) to incorporate both recreation and health activities (not a hospital) within Broad Ripple Park as outlined in the Broad Ripple Park Master Plan. Three RFP proposals were received in February, and a bid selection committee will recommend one preferred proposal to the Metropolitan Development Commission (MDC) during its upcoming April 3rd meeting. The bid selection committee's decision and the bids will be published as soon as the determination has been made. Following a final decision, DMD will seek approval to negotiate a deal on behalf of Indy Parks.
Q: What other parts of the park will be sold, built on or privatized? A: None. This project is specific to this parcel, and the intention for this was included in the Master Plan, which is available at: www.broadrippleparkmasterplan.com
Q: How can readers get involved? A: We want to hear your voice and thoughts on what the new facility should (and shouldn't) include, how it functions and more. You can contact Indy Parks at (317) 327-7275 or email IndyParksCS@indy.gov.
Josh John, President BRVA Board of Directors, said, "BRVA is committed to facilitating meaningful community discussion and evaluation, and this project was no different. Planning for changes at Broad Ripple Park included a citizens' steering committee, several public meetings and an online survey, generating productive input from hundreds of Broad Ripple residents. Community members prioritized greenspace protection, expanded opportunities for fitness and retaining public ownership of the land. We are accomplishing all of this and more, positioning Broad Ripple Park to best serve our community both now and in the future."
Indy Parks is working together with BRVA and FBRP to enhance Broad Ripple Park for future generations.
Broad Ripple Park Family Center