In 2017, The City of Indianapolis Parks and Recreation Department (Indy Parks) completed one of the most comprehensive park master planning processes in its history for Riverside Regional Park. Using the findings from a detailed technical analysis and substantial community outreach and engagement process as a framework, the Riverside Regional Park Master Plan sought to articulate a visionary future for Riverside Park and the surrounding neighborhoods through a series of different programmatic areas and/or capital projects. One of these projects was the concept of the Riverside Promenade, a unique pedestrian corridor that would run the length of Riverside Park along Riverside Drive from 16th Street at the south to 30th Street to the north. Composed of a wide pedestrian trail, the Promenade would also include lighting, seating areas, new street trees, and signage/graphics which could highlight important events and/or individuals in from Riverside’s storied history.
Riverside Regional Park, located on the near northwest side is one of Indy’s premier amenities for open space, recreation, and culture. Originally designed by J. Clyde Power and George Kessler between 1898 and 1913 as part of the Park and Boulevard System for the city, its 861 acres includes Riverside Park, Municipal Gardens, the Lake Sullivan Sports Complex, the White River Greenway, Soap Box Derby Hill, Kuntz Field, Coffin, Riverside, and South Grove Golf Courses, and the Riverside Golf Academy.
When the Riverside Promenade Steering Committee formed in 2019 to include extensive community input, the vision broadened to make the promenade a central thoroughfare that highlighted the historical, cultural, and community vitality of the Riverside neighborhood through several storytelling nodes.
In early 2021, completion of the Riverside Promenade became part of the $11 million 2021 Circle City Forward investment in Riverside Regional Park with allocations toward the Riverside Promenade and the development of the future Riverside Adventure Park. The Riverside Promenade will include seven interactive and interpretive nodes along its 1.44-mile-long corridor. Additional support from the 16 Tech Community Investment Fund will support the creation of a community-driven, multi-generational experiential plan that activates use of the Riverside Promenade and establishes a long-term public art plan.
Investment in the promenade helps Riverside residents transform their public spaces into vital places that highlight local assets, spur rejuvenation and serve common needs. The promenade is also serving as a literal and figurative connector between funding sources for Riverside Park and future investment. The extraordinary $9.2 million investment from the Lilly Endowment to The Parks Alliance in 2018 to restore and create The Taggart Memorial Amphitheatre was a powerful catalyst for the City of Indianapolis to invest significant resources into the promenade which is a welcoming gateway into the Amphitheatre from Burdsal Parkway. Completion of the promenade will create new opportunities for the creation of impactful public art and programming that will further attract financial resources to the park.
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The Parks Alliance’s role is to steward philanthropy on behalf of Indy Parks and Riverside residents to magnify the impact of every contribution and help break down silos for common good.