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Making a splash: Bank gift kick-starts Greenwood park project

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Huntington Bank is giving the city $25,000 toward the revitalization of Pool Park. The city plans to build a new recreational facility to include a splash pad and accessible playground equipment.
Huntington Bank is giving the city $25,000 toward the revitalization of Pool Park. The city plans to build a new recreational facility to include a splash pad and accessible playground equipment. PHOTO BY SCOTT ROBERSON

Greenwood plans to overhaul the former Pool Park at Lincoln Street just off Market Plaza in Old Town.
Greenwood plans to overhaul the former Pool Park at Lincoln Street just off Market Plaza in Old Town.

Corporate sponsors will help Greenwood remake the park where the city’s pool once sat.

Huntington Bank is donating $25,000 to a project that would transform the five-acre park off Lincoln Street into an attraction that would include a splash pad, a sledding hill, walking trails and playground areas for both younger and older children. The city’s goal is to have the splash pad open by this summer.

Greenwood also is lining up two more major corporate donors, who also would contribute $25,000 each to overhaul the Old Town park. Sponsors will get prominent name recognition at the revamped park, but the city is still determining what that will mean and whether that should include a sign or names on the facilities, for example.

The city hopes to take a similar approach with future projects, including a new aquatic center at Freedom Park, which would replace the 55-year-old pool that was demolished last year for safety reasons. Partnering with private businesses lowers the cost to taxpayers, increases community involvement and allows the city to do more to improve quality of life, city attorney Krista Taggart said.

Can you help?

Greenwood is looking for donors to contribute to a revamp of the former Pool Park.

What: The five-acre park on Lincoln Street just off Market Plaza will get a splash pad, sledding hill, a walking trail, and wheelchair-accessible playground equipment for both younger and older children.

Goal: Three major sponsors will contribute a total of $75,000, but the city hopes to raise another $25,000 to $50,000 from smaller donations.

Recognition: Donors would receive some form of recognition at the new park, such as by being listed on a plaque, but exactly what that would include has yet to be determined.

Whom to contact: City attorney Krista Taggart at 888-0494 or taggartk@greenwood.in.gov

How the sponsorship would work

Huntington Bank is donating $25,000 to the revamped park, and two other major donors are expected to donate $25,000 each. Here’s a look:

Fundraising: Greenwood has set aside $300,000 for the project but hopes to raise an additional $100,000 to $150,000 in donations.

Founding sponsors: Huntingon and two other donors gave enough to be founding partners and will get name recognition at the site and input on the design.

Name recognition: The city is determining whether to put up signs or plaques on facilities but wants to ensure the names of the three founding sponsors will be prominently displayed at the park to recognize their contribution.

Greenwood hopes to raise $100,000 to $150,000 in donations for the makeover of Pool Park. The city expects $75,000 from the three major sponsors and hopes to bring in more donations from smaller contributors, who could include businesses, community groups and residents.

Greenwood also has set aside $300,000 in property tax dollars for the project, and officials believe that amount and the donations should cover most of the work that is planned.

The goal is to open a splash pad at the site of the former pool in a few months, so local children don’t have to go another summer without anywhere to play in the water, Taggart said.

Other features, such as more trees and walking paths, would be added over time. Greenwood plans to build the splash pad first and add amenities to the park over the next few years. The pace of development will depend on how quickly the city can raise the money, she said.

The park would be the first in Greenwood and the second in Johnson County to have fully wheelchair-accessible playground equipment and likely will include sensory panels and musical features that would stimulate autistic children, Taggart said.

“We’re looking to set an example,” she said. “We were starting from scratch because, when the pool was demolished, we had a blank slate. We want to set a standard with quality, top-of-the-line amenities.”

The park set back from the corner of Lincoln Street and Market Plaza had been known as Pool Park but will be renamed.

Mayor Mark Myers said the redeveloped park would be a big attraction to the Old Town area and a place where neighborhood children who used to walk to the pool could go to play. The city made a promise to the park’s neighbors that it wouldn’t neglect the property and would turn it into an attraction for children and families, he said.

Greenwood wants donations to help pay for the redeveloped park to lessen the cost to taxpayers and also increase community involvement in the plan to revitalize the Old Town area, Taggart said. Having sponsors shows that businesses back and are willing to invest in efforts to draw more people to the city’s downtown, she said.

“It spreads the cost around, but we’re also trying to spur new growth and new life in that area,” he said. “If we get buy-in from businesses with creating an amenity, we get further toward that goal.”

‘Invest in the communities’

City officials approached Huntington about a donation to support the project and had an in, Taggart said.

Mike Newbold serves on the Greenwood Board of Public Works and Safety and is also the president of Huntington Bank in Indiana. The bank supports various community causes, and Newbold said he determined that the park project was a worthy one.

“Part of our corporate culture is to invest in the communities we do business in, and we have five branches serving Johnson County,” he said. “We try to build stronger and safer communities and improve the quality of life, and that’s what this development will do in Old Town Greenwood.”

A new splash pad would give the park a real family environment for the first time since the pool was closed, Newbold said.

Greenwood also is in talks with two other potential corporate sponsors but has enough money to start work on the splash pad this spring, Taggart said.

The splash pad area will be about 1,500 to 2,000 square feet and feature streaming jets of water. The city still needs to determine exactly what features it would have and whether it would, for instance, include mushroom showers or overhead buckets that dump water.

Sponsors will get to help with the design, and the city also will solicit suggestions and comments from residents, Taggart said.

Families wouldn’t have to pay a fee to visit the new park and could use the splash pad by pressing a button to activate the water nozzles. The operating costs would be low, since no lifeguards would be needed.

Taggart said she did not have an exact estimate for the project’s cost but believes the city would need at least $400,000 to $450,000 to accomplish its vision.

‘Want to make it inclusive’

Features planned for the park include a renovated restroom and changing area, a parking lot, a resurfaced basketball court and as many as three shade covers. A larger shade area could be a shelter or pavilion where parents could sit and watch their kids play or eat lunch at picnic tables, Taggart said.

“People could have lunch or celebrate a birthday,” she said. “They could just sit and hang out.”

The park would remain an attraction year-round because it would include a 10-to-12-foot-high sledding hill, which families could use in the winter.

One main attraction would be a playground aimed at children ages 2 to 5 and a separate playground for kids 5 to 12, Taggart said.

The wheelchair-accessible playgrounds, the first in the city, would have rubber surfacing to prevent injuries, she said. They would be similar to those in Independence Park in White River Township and designed so that disabled children could play with their classmates.

They’d be designed in such a way that they could be used by disabled children but also would have challenging features to keep their peers interested.

Sensory panels and musical features, such as a bongo drums, would offer stimulation to autistic children.

“It’s something that is lacking in Greenwood, and we really want to make it inclusive,” Taggart said.

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