Tarkington Park Opening Ceremony

July 29, 2017

Below are my comments from today’s opening ceremony for the improved Tarkington Park. The improvements to Tarkington Park were designed and funded via Proposal 77, that I proposed and passed in 2014, as an At-Large member of the Indianapolis City/County Council.

“Good morning. I wanted to use my time today to discuss how the improvements to Tarkington Park came about. About 10 years ago, after being elected to be Butler-Tarkington Neighborhood Association (BTNA) President, I started meeting with neighborhood leaders and businesses. There were lots of ideas for how to make Butler-Tarkington a more livable neighborhood including eliminating the parking meters at 38th and Illinois – but one idea out stood out above the rest. Kathy Shorter, one of the founder’s of Midtown Indy, had a vision for Tarkington Park as a place where all of Midtown could come together. As time went on this idea gained currency and support. First BTNA, followed quickly by our friends at the Broad Ripple Village Association, the Meridian Kessler Neighborhood Association, Mapleton-Fall Creek and from Crown Hill neighbors. Universally, we recognized that a strong Tarkington Park could be a place where all our Midtown neighborhoods — and all of Indianapolis — could come together. Ultimately, as a member of the Indianapolis City/County Council, I was honored to introduce and pass Proposal 77 that funded the park improvements. Today, the results are clear – Kathy’s vision, put forward 10 years ago, has resulted in a park that is an exciting, dynamic place for families of all backgrounds come together to play and enjoy life.”


Tarkington Park Openeing


Statement from Councilor Barth on the passage of Proposal 77

June 3, 2014

“I’m very pleased that Proposal 77 passed the full Council tonight. The investment in Tarkington Park is especially important. The park is a key element of the community’s desired revitalization of the area which has long suffered from crime, disinvestment, and population decline. Area neighborhoods have worked together to craft comprehensive plans to reverse the decline and promote reinvestment – with a focus on transforming a long underutilized Tarkington Park and encouraging redevelopment around the park. I believe that the implementation of the park plan is vital to leveraging additional private investment in the area which has had its share of challenges in past decades but, with the revitalized Tarkington Park as the cornerstone, is ready to return to thriving and vibrant neighborhood center that it once was.”

Proposal 172: Enhanced Public Input for Changes at Eagle Creek Park

May 10, 2012

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.