White River Vision Plan

What is the White River Vision Plan?

The White River Vision Plan is a community-driven plan in Hamilton County and Indianapolis that explores the enormous potential of the river to enhance regional vibrancy, ecological integrity, livability and economic vitality. This is a generational plan to establish a national-park like network of places and experiences to build on the great work already being done in communities all along the river.

Who’s leading the White River Vision Plan?

The initial planning process was undertaken by a partnership that included Visit Indy, Hamilton County Tourism, the City of Indianapolis Department of Metropolitan Development, and Reconnecting Our Waterways with funding from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust.

Today the project is under the guidance of the White River Transition Team, which was appointed and charged with serving as the civic trust to further explore and recommend the regional governance implementation strategy for the White River Vision Plan. You can learn more about this group, including its members, here.

What’s been happening since the Vision Plan was published?

Since the WRVP was published in the summer of 2019, river-related projects have proliferated. Here’s a taste of current projects.

  • 10-acre expansion of White River State Park announced as part of Elanco Headquarters redevelopment of former GM Stamping Plant.
  • Taggart Memorial Mainstage Amphitheatre in Riverside Park nearing completion. Will be home to IndyShakes, the Indianapolis Shakespeare Company.
  • Riverside Park Master Plan Fundraising underway for Riverside Drive Promenade.
  • Riverside Adventure Park Master Plan nearing completion for the former Riverside Golf Course, with up to $9m funding committed through Circle City Forward program.
  • Broad Ripple Park Master Plan completed, with new Family Center moving forward
  • Broad Ripple RiverWalk promenade will connect Broad Ripple Park with Broad Ripple Village, slated for construction 2022.
  • 30thStreet Bridge reconstruction slated for 2022.
  • Kessler Boulevard Bridge reconstruction underway.
  • Pleasant Street Bridge in Noblesville under design as part of larger Reimagine Pleasant Street
  • Logan Street Bridge in Noblesville expanded to include pedestrian paths and plaza overlook.
  • New York Street Bridge illuminated with changeable LED lighting.
  • Emrichsville Dam replacement structure will be a rock ramp structure, much safer and more environmentally friendly.
  • Newfields 100 Acres trail/riverbank stabilization completed.
  • Conner Prairie Master Plan incorporates riverfront experience, wetland restoration, river education center.
  • Carmel-Fishers 126thStreet Pedestrian Bridge funded and connecting extension of White River Greenway planned.
  • South River District Study 116th-146thSt completed with plans proposed to enhance two existing parks, construct a new nature park.
  • White River top priority in Carmel Clay Parks 2020-2024 Master Plan.
  • A riverfront park identified as preferable in new Fishers 2040 Comprehensive Plan.
  • Planned Thomas Marcuccilli Nature Park announced in Carmel near 146th/River Road.
  • White River Vision Plan implementation, specifically Principles 1, 2, 8, 9 incorporated into new Hamilton County Comprehensive Plan. Includes big focus on preserving floodplain.
  • Koteewi Lake, repurposed gravel pit, at Strawtown Koteewi Park opened in 2020.
  • Oliver’s Woods opening to public soon.
  • CILTI acquires White River Bluffs (Highland Country Club property).
  • Indiana Department of Agriculture watershed cover crop planting incentive program with The Nature Conservancy.
  • Belmont Beach Pop-Up Park open Summer 2020
  • River-oriented, multi-family/mixed-use developments announced or opened in Broad Ripple and downtown Noblesville
  • IDNR/IDEM 2020 White River Mainstem Project water quality study
  • IFA Central Indiana Water Study

What’s the future of the Vision Plan?

The WRVP Transition Team is currently developing a new website that will include a year-round calendar of events and make it easy to find ways to access and enjoy the river.

Partners like the White River Alliance and others are aligning programming around the anchor destinations identified in the plan, which include places like Conner Prairie, Riverside Park, XYZ.

Public officials from communities all along the river have come together and are working to embrace the river and leverage their investments in it.

Finally, a new White River brand is evolving that will give the river and its many parts, places, and partners a unified identity, bring the efforts of many partners under a common umbrella, and create a recognizable regional destination.