Riverside Regional Park Master Plan

Riverside Regional Park Master Plan

Indianapolis, Indiana|Community

Reimagining a Regional Park for the People

First open to the public in 1899, Riverside was once the crown jewel of Indianapolis’ parks and boulevards system. A popular and bucolic setting, the park meandered along the White River from 38th Street to 18th Street, eventually encompassing three golf courses, the Major Taylor Velodrome, walking trails, a tennis complex, and a soapbox derby hill. Riverside’s modern footprint is 862 acres — 22 more than New York’s Central Park. After more than a century, the time had come to reinvigorate Riverside.

Client
city of Indianapolis, Department of Parks & Recreation
Size
862 Acres
Complete
2017

We understood that a master plan for Riverside must serve surrounding neighbors, first and foremost. And yet, it also had the potential to become a regional destination and an economic driver for the City of Indianapolis. Our design approach would balance local needs with regional amenities.

Neighbors were skeptical; this was not the first time Riverside had come up for review. Would the city invest? Would we truly listen? Would any of these grand plans come to fruition? We worked with neighbors to understand their needs, desires, and ideas for the future, and trust was built one conversation at a time. The resulting master plan outlines $120M in improvements over 20 years for neighbors and visitors, including a new aquatics center, walking trails, baseball and softball fields, arts and entertainment, and expanded cycling opportunities.

Several projects are already underway, creating a visible transformation within the park. Riverside Golf Course (once off-limits to non-golfers) has been repurposed as an ecological park open to all; cart paths are now walking trails, dotted with public art installations. Thanks to a $9.24M Lilly Endowment grant, the Taggart Memorial monument will be rehabilitated and enhanced to become the Taggart Memorial Ampitheatre, a 650-seat performance venue. And, a promenade along the east side of the White River is in its design phase.

With time, attention, and investment, Riverside Regional Park will reclaim its place as a public gem, designed for and with the people.

“The City of Indianapolis recognized an opportunity to return a grand and beautiful place to its former glory, reframed for our current time.”

John Jackson, Principal, RATIO Design