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Water playground proposed for far-east side park

February 22, 2011

The addition of a splash pad at German Church and 30th Park on the city’s far-east side could provide welcome relief to area youngsters this summer.

Indy Parks and Recreation is seeking approval from the Metropolitan Development Commission to install a 7,800-square-foot water playground and a restroom at the park. It is located on East 30th Street between North Mitthoeffer and North German Church roads.

MDC staff has recommended approval of the proposal, which will be considered by the commission’s hearing examiner at 1 p.m. Thursday before it can proceed to the full board.

The $175,000 investment in the spray area and $225,000 cost to install a restroom would be funded by private donations through the Indianapolis Parks Foundation. The not-for-profit provides financial support to the city’s parks and recreation department.

“We targeted that area basically because of the lack of facilities on the far-east side,” said foundation Executive Director Cindy Porteous.

A grant from United Water, which operates the city’s wastewater system, will fund the spray area—the third the company has supported. One has been installed at Clayton and LaSalle Park on LaSalle Street and English Avenue on the city’s near-east side, and another will be put in at Riverwood Park on Crittendon Avenue near North Keystone Avenue and East 71st Street.
 
Grant money from Lilly Endowment Inc. will pay for the restroom at German Church and 30th Park, as well as eight additional facilities slated this year for other parks throughout the city.

Construction of the spray area and restroom at German Church and 30th should be finished by June 1. The city is scheduled to begin running sewer lines for the restroom within the next few weeks.

The water park would be located at least 80 feet from the nearest residence, and mature trees would provide sufficient buffering between the playground and nearby homes to the west, MDC staff said in its recommendation.

“They’re so cost-effective and easy to maintain,” Porteous said of the water parks. “They’re much more easy to manage than an in-ground pool.”

Porteous hopes more improvements to German Church and 30th will be forthcoming. Due to a lack of use, one of the two sets of tennis courts may be removed to accommodate a skate park, and a walking trail also could be added. In addition, a $2.5 million community center might be built within the next three to five years, Porteous said.

The center would be similar to the one constructed at Windsor Village Park on East 25th Street that opened in December 2008.

On a broader scope, Lilly Endowment funds also will enable the parks foundation to renovate 58 tennis courts throughout the city this year.

Lilly Endowment awarded the foundation a $7.3 million grant in December 2009 to fund improvements that included a new pool at Bethel Park on the near-southeast side.

The donation was the not-for-profit’s largest ever.

Since its inception in 1991, the parks foundation has provided more than $19 million to Indy Parks for capital-improvement projects, land acquisition and program support.

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