Tarkington Park to make changes

On the outskirts of the Butler bubble sits Tarkington Park. The nearly 11-acre neighborhood park, located at 39th and Illinois Street, will be undergoing renovations, according to Park Manager Allen McClendon.

The park has not been upgraded in a while and things need to be refreshed, McClendon said.

Indy Parks and Rundell Ernstberger Associates will be adding a spray plaza, sidewalks, public restrooms, a basketball court, additional parking, a small amphitheater, a café or concession stand and perhaps a dog park, according to Don Colvin, the Deputy Director of the Indianapolis Department of Parks and Recreation.

The six tennis courts will remain the same and the playground will be renovated.

Some plans are still up in the air.

The organizations will be holding a Tarkington Park Master Planning meeting Thursday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall of North United Methodist Church just south of the park.

These master plans will be updating the 1985 plans, which were written when the park was built.

There are two different concept plans on the table, although they are very similar except one includes the dog park.

Colvin said that many locals have expressed interest in an area where they can let their dogs loose.

“In some ways, we are developing one of their family rooms, whether it be for walking a dog, a picnic, basketball or letting your kids run in the spray plaza,” he said.

Amanda Ryan, wife of Butler professor Travis Ryan, has lived in the area for 11 years.

She said her five kids use the park all the time to play ultimate frisbee with neighbors, walk the dogs and attend National Junior Tennis Leagues in the summer.

“It is extremely convenient, a huge green area and very family-oriented,” Amanda Ryan said.

Ryan said they do miss the bathrooms, which were in the park when they first moved there.

The new renovations would provide the Ryan family and others with the much-missed bathrooms.

The multimillion-dollar question is when the renovations can begin, Colvin said.

The plans are in place but the funds are not. He explained that it may be three to five years before the funds are in place.

McClendon and Colvin both think the park is an important place to maintain.

“It benefits the community because it is an open green space that provides an open place for people to recreate in the city,” McClendon said.

Colvin said the park is important to promote diversity.

“The park is so important because it is one of the few places where people of different economic and diverse backgrounds are able to mix,” Colvin said.

He also said it is important because it is a gateway into the city for places like Butler and the Meridian area.

Find out more about the renovations at www.reasite.com/tarkingtonpark.

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