9/3/12 Update: Proposal 172 has been withdrawn. I moved to withdraw 172, after months of working with Indy Parks to develop and implement a new internal policy that meets my prime goal – to ensure that any material policy changes at Eagle Creek Park will receive a public meeting prior to a decision being made. The new policy, in place as of 8/23/12, is available for review here: Indy Parks – Final ECP policy statement
Original Post (5/10/12):
Eagle Creek Park (ECP) is one of our city’s great assets. Not only is ECP the largest park in Indianapolis, it is among the largest municipal parks in the United States. The park is used for a large range of activities – from boating to hiking to swimming – and has been cherished by generations of Indianapolis residents.
Recently, Indy Parks began expanding on these traditional park activities. The city signed a 15-year contract with a company (Go Ape) to install and operate a zip line course (Go Ape will charge customers, and the city will receive only a maximum of 6% of revenue per year as payment). Now city officials are considering adding mountain biking on ECP trails.
Given the importance of ECP to our city, I believe that prior to any more expansion beyond the traditional uses of the park, a robust public engagement process should take place. That is why I have authored Proposal 172 (to be introduced to the Council on 5/14/12). The aim of the proposal is simply to seek public input on any expansion of the “traditional or historic” use of the park. Indy Parks will be required to hold a public meeting to review any proposed new use and to allow public testimony. This information will then be reported to the Parks Board to help guide decision making. It is my hope that this simple proposal to encourage more public engagement will spark an on-going discussion about the role of ECP and its value to the residents of the City of Indianapolis.