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Noblesville planning riverfront park with amphitheater

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Noblesville leaders are working to acquire 6.4 acres of property along the White River for a park—complete with an open-air amphitheater—that would extend the city’s downtown area to the west.

The still-unnamed park is on flood-prone land between State Road 32 and Logan Street. Officials expect to make purchase offers to two property owners this week.

The site is part of Noblesville’s so-called Westside Gateway planned development district, an area targeted for growth since 2007. Although the recession stalled efforts to encourage commercial development there, the idea of creating community space along the river is moving forward.

Plan Commission members on Monday will consider adding the proposed park to the Noblesville Parks Master Plan. The Common Council is expected to take up the amendment Aug. 27.

If they sign off, Indianapolis-based Ratio Architecture and engineering firm Fairmen & Seufert will be hired to create renderings and a master plan for the proposed park. The firms were selected from companies that responded to a request for proposals.

The consultants’ job will be to determine how to use the parkland, but Deputy Mayor Mike Hendricks said an open-air amphitheater is at the top of the city’s wish list for amenities. Other ideas include trails, shelters and public event space.

“They will give us an idea of costs,” he said. “We have a lot of ideas. They’ll help us figure out what we can do there.”

Officials envision an amphitheater with terraced seating that could host the city’s free summer concerts, among other events.

Locating the park on the western banks of the river is an effort to better link Noblesville’s quaint downtown with newer—and potentially future—development on the other side of the natural barrier.

“It’s a huge step toward helping to redevelop the rest of the area,” Hendricks said.  “It’s a nice catalyst.”

He said the project also should enhance the newly opened RiverWalk, a recreational path on the east side of the river constructed in a partnership with Hamilton County.

A former bank branch near the targeted property is not part of the planned land acquisition, but Dave Mason Auto Outlet is on the site. It was not immediately clear how the vehicle repair shop would be affected by the project.

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