Riverside Regional Park is Indianapolis’ premier urban park located along the White River in the heart of Indianapolis. At more than 900 acres, the park is the same size as Central Park in New York City and is surrounded by diverse, low to moderate income neighborhoods as well as a university. Aside from a central zone of traditional park recreation facilities, three golf courses have occupied most of its acreage since the turn of the nineteenth century.
In 2017, IndyParks underwent a robust master planning process to reimagine Riverside Park so it will meet the current and future needs of the neighborhood and provide more equitable access to the community. The master plan recommended conversion of Riverside Golf Course on the northern 200 acres of the park into a nature-focused adventure park.
At the end of 2019, the City of Indianapolis closed Riverside Golf Course and hired a team led by V3 to develop a conceptual design for the adventure park. V3 performed an inventory of the site’s natural resources, existing conditions and researched the site’s history.
Team partner, Groundwork Indy, led a public engagement process to gather public and stakeholder input to confirm the activities program for the new park. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the public engagement strategy was reorganized around a self-guided park tour linked to a website with background information and access to a public survey. Meetings were conducted via bicycle tours on the site. Five sculptures were temporarily installed on site and the pandemic-oriented kickoff event drew more than 300 community participants to the park for tours, performances and food.
Once the program of activities for the park was confirmed, V3 utilized an analysis of the site to help IndyParks organize park features into five activity zones focused on wetland education, winter recreation, adventure recreation, river recreation and nature engagement.
A concept plan and cost estimate will be developed for each activity zone so IndyParks can begin a strategic implementation of the adventure park’s new features.