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Fishers plans $3M park with zip line, sledding hill

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The town of Fishers is working to transform 80 acres of suburban farmland into a destination-worthy park with a man-made sledding hill, mountain bike course and zip line.

Indianapolis-based landscape architecture firm Rundell Ernstberger & Associates has come up with a concept for the still-unnamed park at 101st Street and Cyntheanne Road, but planners are hammering out details.

Officials promised to build the park when Fishers annexed the Geist area. The town has $3.25 million budgeted for the project.

“It’s so far out, we need to make it somewhat of a destination location,” Town Manager Scott Fadness said of the property east of Geist Reservoir.

That means coming up with something different from the standard “utilitarian” parks that host a seemingly endless array of sporting events or “passive” properties like Ritchey Woods, where nature is the main attraction.

“We wanted a very different park than what we’ve been doing lately,” said Town Council member and Geist resident Pete Peterson. “We came up with some really neat ideas.”

Planners also want to make sure the park is a draw year-round. So, a 50- to 60-foot hill planned to accommodate a privately operated zip line also will be designed with sledding in mind. Peterson said ice skating is another option.

Preliminary plans also call for a “progressive” bike course—constantly changing obstacles along increasingly difficult bicycle trails—tree houses and a fishing pond, in addition to the expected playground equipment and walking paths.

The town also is planning an extensive reforestation of the site.
 
“We see this as the intersection between outdoor physical activity and nature,” Fadness said. “It’s a nice complement to what is already a pretty robust park system.”

Design work is under way, he said, and leaders hope to break ground by spring pending a final OK from the Town Council. The park could open late next year.

The town will seek proposals from vendors interested in operating the zip line, an activity that gained popularity locally thanks to a temporary attraction set up in downtown Indianapolis during the 2012 Super Bowl festivities.

In the meantime, officials are looking for ways to trim construction expenses. Fadness said area homebuilders will be invited to dump dirt from basement excavations on the site, for example, lowering the cost of building the hill.

Fadness thinks the hill will be a hit as soon as the snow flies.

“Fishers doesn’t really have a sledding hill,” he said. “You know kids are hard up when  they sled on snow piles pushed up in parking lots.”

Hamilton County also is aiming to improve area winter sports options. The county Parks & Recreation Department is planning a tubing hill for Strawtown Koteewi Park east of Cicero, about 20 miles north of the Fishers project.

The hill is taking shape thanks to a partnership with Mooresville-based Beaver Materials, which is digging a 19-acre lake at the park. Beaver keeps the gravel and sand for its purposes, said county parks Director Al Patterson, and piles up the rest of the dirt.

Although the hill is almost done, he said the county is still seeking funding for necessities like a fence, a tube-rental facility and a warming house.

And given Indiana’s unpredictable weather, there’s another big—and potentially expensive—decision to make: “Do we have enough winter, or do we have to make snow?” Patterson said.

The tubing hill likely won't be open for another year or two, he said.

"We're just trying to get the dirt in the right place, with the proper compaction," Patterson said. "Then we'll start working on the funding aspect."

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  • You are confusing two different parks
    The reforestation is in the Fishers park that is often referred to as "Cyntheanne South." This park is where the zipline and sledding hill is planned. The tubing hill is up in Koteewi Park North of Noblesville -- this is the park, run by the county, that the snow machine is mentioned.
  • Big dreams
    Wonder if the company developing this park is the same one who bought the golf course along 37 to build a water park that never came to fruition.
  • Go Ape
    In the mean time check out "Go Ape" at Eagle Creek Park. Wonderful ropes course with 5 ziplines in midst of forest and nature. The place is a blast and offers amazing new views of the park.
  • Snow Machines?
    This seems like an interesting park idea - mostly because they're reforesting the area. However, that being said, they're dreaming if they think that artificial snow creation is a good idea in our climate.

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    1. How can any company that has the cash and other assets be allowed to simply foreclose and not pay the debt? Simon, pay the debt and sell the property yourself. Don't just stiff the bank with the loan and require them to find a buyer.

    2. If you only knew....

    3. The proposal is structured in such a way that a private company (who has competitors in the marketplace) has struck a deal to get "financing" through utility ratepayers via IPL. Competitors to BlueIndy are at disadvantage now. The story isn't "how green can we be" but how creative "financing" through captive ratepayers benefits a company whose proposal should sink or float in the competitive marketplace without customer funding. If it was a great idea there would be financing available. IBJ needs to be doing a story on the utility ratemaking piece of this (which is pretty complicated) but instead it suggests that folks are whining about paying for being green.

    4. The facts contained in your post make your position so much more credible than those based on sheer emotion. Thanks for enlightening us.

    5. Please consider a couple of economic realities: First, retail is more consolidated now than it was when malls like this were built. There used to be many department stores. Now, in essence, there is one--Macy's. Right off, you've eliminated the need for multiple anchor stores in malls. And in-line retailers have consolidated or folded or have stopped building new stores because so much of their business is now online. The Limited, for example, Next, malls are closing all over the country, even some of the former gems are now derelict.Times change. And finally, as the income level of any particular area declines, so do the retail offerings. Sad, but true.

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