Officials Unveil White River Vision Plan

Posted: Updated:
Officials unveiled the plan Monday in Indianapolis. Officials unveiled the plan Monday in Indianapolis.

The highly-anticipated plan to enhance nearly 60 miles of the White River in central Indiana has been unveiled. Officials say the White River Vision Plan provides a deep dive into a shared vision for the section of the river in Marion and Hamilton counties focusing on environmental and ecological health, equity, public safety and activation. Hamilton County Tourism Inc. Chief Executive Officer Brenda Myers says the goal of the project is to make the White River more prevalent in the eyes of central Indiana residents.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Myers said the developers are using nine principles as a framework for the project.

"They range from protecting wildlife and the environment to protecting ownership along the river. Those nine principles are really focused on making the river first and foremost important in our lives so that we care enough about it to take care of it. One of the things we heard loud and clear from residents is they want access to the river, they want the river to be cleaner, (and) they want us to protect the river. Striking a balance between the health of the river and use of the river I think will be critically important as we move forward."

The plan identifies seven "anchor areas" that will be a major focus of the project. They include commercial corridors, historic districts, cultural destinations and catalytic program opportunities along the 58-mile stretch of the white river. The plan offers recommendations for each area, including:

  • Strawtown Koteewi Park: Build on the park’s regional success and existing master plan, focus on environmental health and historic interpretation, including a new trail from Potter’s Bridge Park to Cicero, a viewing tower and an expanded area for launching kayaks and canoes, invasive plant species removal, and historic signage and installations.
  • Downtown Noblesville: Support Noblesville’s downtown revitalization with new riverfront links, including the incorporation of existing elements and projects like the Riverwalk and increased or enhanced river access, and new ideas like sustainable design practices, shadier streets, and riverfront terraces. 
  • Allisonville Stretch: Centered on the asset of Conner Prairie, this area focuses on community engagement to protect natural areas, support the existing Conner Prairie’s master plan, and local collaboration to improve pedestrian crossings.
  • Oliver’s Crossing: Situated around I-465, Oliver’s Woods and surrounding retail destinations, this anchor district builds on the opportunity for nearby post-production quarry lands close to the river for flood storage and outdoor adventure activities programming, as well as recommendations to connect public open spaces in this stretch with trails and riverfront landowner partnerships.
  • Broad Ripple: The vision for this beloved canal district reconnects the area to its riverfront by relocating parking and connecting across the levee at 64th St. to Holliday Park via the planned Broad Ripple Riverwalk and trail. It protects the historic character of residential neighborhoods and Broad Ripple’s commercial district, helps with early implementation of the planned boat launch, riverbank restoration, river walk, and terrace river edge projects. It also recommends that artists and the Indianapolis Art Center create temporary or permanent art installations. 
  • Downtown Indianapolis: Building on key opportunities like the recent Riverside Park master plan and current needs of the Emrichsville Dam, the plan leverages partnerships to redesign the dam for multi-functional environmental, water quality, and recreational benefits to the neighboring Near Westside community and guides sustainable development outside the floodplain.
  • Southwestway Park: At the plan’s southern boundary, this large ecological asset emphasizes environmental education through grant funding and a ranger “outpost,” creates a new entrance from Southport Road, establishes multiple new river access points and recommends a 10-year restoration and management program.

Myers says the effort has been a great collaboration between Marion and Hamilton counties.

"I think one of the things that this White River Vision Plan can do is also help establish come goals for other parts of the White River. The state has been wonderfully involved through a White River caucus and that White River caucus, we hope, can help expand some of the visioning of this part of the river to other parts of the White River."

Myers says organizers will spend the summer looking at the governance of the plan and how to move it forward. Once that is situated, she says the group will start prioritizing items in the plan in both counties.

Members of the public can view and comment on the full 222-page White River Vision Plan by clicking here.

As part of the unveiling, organizers will this week host a series of activities and events, which will continue Tuesday with river cleanup events both in Indianapolis and Hamilton County. You can view the full list of events by clicking here.

Myers says the developers are using nine principles as a framework for the project.
  • Perspectives

    • World Refugee Day Shines Light on Untapped Pool of Talented Workers

      From Fortune 500 companies to local small businesses, a similar theme rings true. In this strong economy where unemployment is low and growth is high, companies are competing for top talent. In Indianapolis - according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics - unemployment is just 2.8 percent, and investment and job growth are on the rise. This is great news for Indianapolis-area residents looking for work or opportunities to advance their careers, but for businesses and...


Company Name:
Confirm Email:
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections


  • Most Popular Stories

    • (file photo courtesy of Radial)

      Radial Opens Fulfillment Center in Brownsburg

      Pennsylvania-based Radial Inc. says its new fulfillment center in Brownsburg is now open. The e-commerce technology and operations company says the nearly 700,000-square-foot facility is the largest in its network and will have the capacity to house about 2,000 employees.

    • Franciscan Health Details Data Breach

      Mishawaka-based Franciscan Health is providing details of a data breach. The health system says an internal investigation found one of its employees accessed the protected health information of about 2,200 patients "without a business reason."  Franciscan says the vast majority of the affected medical records was limited to demographic information such as name, address, email address, date of birth, phone number, gender, race/ethnicity, the last four digits of...

    • Malika Butler

      IMA Promotes Butler

      The Indiana Manufacturers Association has promoted Malika Butler to assistant vice president of governmental affairs. She has served the past year as government affairs & communications specialist.
    • Lilly Exec Named BioCrossroads CEO

      After a national search, BioCrossroads has announced Patty Martin will become the life science initiative's next president and chief executive officer. Martin, who most recently served as chief operating officer for Lilly Diabetes, will begin her new role Monday. She will become just the third CEO in the organization's 17-year history, and succeeds David Johnson, who in December announced plans to step down from the role to serve as president and CEO of the...

    • (rendering courtesy of Jones Development Co.)

      New Business Park Planned for Whiteland

      Missouri-based Jones Development Co. has begun construction on a new business park in Johnson County. The 2.4 million-square-foot Whiteland Exchange will be located on 167 acres near I-65 in Whiteland.  Financial terms of the developer's investment in the project were not disclosed. The business park is slated to include modern industrial buildings for logistics, advanced manufacturing and related uses. Work is underway on the first two speculative buildings, which total nearly...