8A: Implement the White River Vision Plan
Implement the White River Vision Plan and its potential to become one of the largest environmental, economic, and community enhancement efforts to ever shape the Indy region. This includes implementation and funding of a regional governance strategy, a coordinated regional branding campaign, and implementation of the projects, programs, and policies it identifies. It also includes support for efforts to improve water quality, like the DigIndy tunnel system, as well as efforts to regionally manage water supply.
Value to the CommunityAs Central Indiana's defining natural resource that connects tens of thousands of acres of parkland and open space, the White River has and will continue to play an outsized role in the Indy experience. From providing much of our drinking water supply to supporting industry and offering recreation, the health and future of the river is critically important to our quality of life. Furthermore, its cleansing and enhancement can help reverse historic environmental justice and related disparities while helping overcome perceptions of a lack of outdoor experiences that can inhibit economic development and talent attraction efforts.
Value to the Hospitality IndustryElevating the role of the White River and its tens of thousands of acres of connected parks and attractions helps to increase destination appeal by overcoming the "no mountains, no oceans" sentiment. By understanding, packaging, and developing the White River in the mindset of a national park scale amenity, we can improve leisure visits while remaining competitive with other nearby regions investing in their river experiences.
- January 2023. Broad Ripple Park Family Center Opens. The new Broad Ripple Park Family Center, with views overlooking the White River, opened to the public.
- October 2022. River Heritage Park upgrades complete. Carmel-Clay Parks completed upgrades to its River Heritage Park, including an accessible playground, nature trail, and river overlooks.
- March 2022. DiscoverWhiteRIver.com launches. Phase Two of the White River Vision Plan launched with the DiscoverWhiteRiver.com website. The site brings together all there is to do on the river today as well as the plans and partners working towards its future.
- January 2022. READI awards $20m to White River region. State economic development initiative READI awarded $20m to support a slate of projects in the White River watershed, including riverfront recreation amenities in Hamilton and Madison counties. The award was lower than requested, meaning regional leaders will need to determine which projects are actually funded.
- July 2021. Broad Ripple Park Family Center Breaks Ground. IndyParks broke ground on a new family center as proposed in its recent park master plan.
- June 2021. White River Selected as Framework for Regional Economic Development Initiative. Indianapolis joined Hamilton County and Madison County, and the communities of Anderson, Carmel, Fishers, McCordsville, Noblesville, and Zionsville to apply for the State's READI grant initiative using the White River as the primary investment framework. The regional development plan that serves as the grant application is due August 31, 2021.
- April 2021. Belmont Beach Pop-Up Park Opens. A temporary pop-up community park at the site of a historically segregated swimming beach in the Haughville neighborhood opened, sharing the story of environmental and community resiliency.
- December 2020. White River State Park Expansion. As part of the planned Elanco Animal Health Headquarters project at the GM Stamping Plant, White River State Park will be expanding with 10 additional acres of riverfront park.
- January 2020. Final White River Vision Plan Released, Next Steps Begin. Final plan and technical task reports are completed. As an implementation step, a bi-county transition task force begins meeting to advance the regional governance and funding conversation. Hamilton Conty Tourism and TTI submit for implementation funding through Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust to build out the branding and communication infrastructure for this future entity.
- February 2020. Logan Street Bridge Enhancements. The City of Noblesville rebuilt the Logan Street bridge downtown to add sidewalks, lighting, and a river lookout.
- June 2019. New York Street Bridge Lighting. The City of Indianapolis illuminated the New York Street Bridge with changeable LED lighting.
- July 2018. Conner Prairie Master Plan. Conner Prairie has completed their new master plan, which includes a significant focus on river activation including a proposed river ecology education center.
- May 2018. White River Vision Plan Kickoff. The White River Vision Plan planning process kicked off an 18 month planning process.
- December 2017. DigyIndy Tunnel Phase 1 Opens. The first 11 miles of the DigIndy tunnel network came online, intercepting 4 of the 134 combined sewer overflows in Indianapolis, including the two largest ones.