A 15-acre parcel that was decimated by floodwaters three times in 14 years is now home to Franklin’s Youngs Creek Park.
Three Franklin mayors faced devastating downtown flooding from 2008 to 2017. After the 2017 flood, city officials took steps to transform the plot into something that could withstand nature and improve the quality of life,” said Steve Barnett, Mayor.
“After that 2017 flood, it was a good time to start a conversation with the city council, the RDC (redevelopment commission) and the five owners,” Barnett said. “We knew we wanted to transform this area, which was a former industrial site, and we wanted to turn it into a vibrant space that people could enjoy for a lifetime.”
The $9 million park was designed with large green spaces to absorb floodwaters and amenities built to withstand flooding. These amenities include an amphitheater with a 5,000-seat capacity lawn, an inclusive playground, pickleball courts, trails, plazas built to accommodate food trucks and farmer’s market vendors, and the first city paddling pool.
The park is also an economic development tool that should attract tourists, new businesses and new residents, Barnett said.
“The DriveHubler.com Amphitheater and Youngs Creek Park are milestones in preserving our small-town feel that we continue to build on on this journey of excellence,” he said.
Friday morning’s grand opening ceremony featured remarks from city officials and park sponsors. It also featured the first official performance at the amphitheater – a trumpet rendition of the national anthem by Steve Brown, president of the Franklin Rotary Club.
Countless city employees, sponsors and people who believed in the project helped bring it to the finish line after five years of work, Barnett said.
“It takes Franklin’s quality of life to the next level,” Barnett said. “A project of this magnitude requires a lot of planning, collaboration, meetings — it takes time to get to where we are today, five years later. Quality of life and collaboration make this city the best place to live, work and play.
City officials and contractor, Fishers-based Myers Construction Management, worked on the park until late last night to prepare for the event, said Chip Orner, Franklin’s parks and recreation manager. .
There are still some finishing touches to be done, but the park is fully ready to use. Some of the punch list items that still need to be added are playground fencing, concrete repairs and other detail work that most won’t even notice is missing, he said. declared.
Sponsors raised $649,870 for park programming, which enabled the city to make all concerts scheduled for this year free, Orner said. Some of the sponsors were Indiana American Water, Mutual Savings Bank, the Branigin Foundation, the William E. and Barbara Paris family, and others.
The Spray Park at Youngs Creek Park was made possible by a donation from the American Water Foundation. The paddling pool was quietly opened a few days ago, but the ribbon was cut this morning.
Not only does the spray park provide fun, but it also gives back to the environment by recycling water through the park’s irrigation system and sharing facts about water conservation on educational signs, said Matthew Prine, president of Indiana American Water.
“We look forward to this space where children and families can enjoy and have fun while learning about the valuable role it plays in protecting our environment and our water here in Franklin,” Prine said.
The DriveHubler.com Amphitheater is named for the major sponsorship of the automotive dealership chain that has called Franklin home since 1982. The sponsorship was a no-brainer, as the company wanted to give back to the community that contributed to its success, a said Kenny Young, general manager of Bradley Hubler Chevrolet.
“Over the past 40 years we have seen changes in this community – all to transform this small town into the beautiful place we all call home now. With that, the Hubler Group has grown…to 14 different locations in central Indiana,” Young said. “We couldn’t have done this without the help of this community.”
Several amenities are also named after community members who have given their time and money to give back to the city.
Fred Paris, who was mayor during the 2008 flood, said the Paris train station footpath bridge was a good way to remember his parents’ legacy. The bridge over Youngs Creek connects the park to an existing section of the Greenlawn Cemetery Trail.
William E. and Barbara Paris have given back to the community in many ways, far beyond their contributions as owners of Paris Super Service and as promoters of Paris Estates, he said. Paris Estates is located on land that was once the family farm.
“We were able to speak to our mother about our plan just a few months ago before she passed. She said “that would be nice,” Paris said. “The trailhead from this park to Greenlawn Cemetery was the original location of the Franklin-Martinsville Railroad and now serves as our trailhead. It once passed our gas station and when we were kids it passed our house where we lived near Paris Estates. We spent a lot of time watching this train come and go and playing in the creek next to it. Now it has a new life by serving as a starting point for this beautiful installation.
A plaza is named after the Branigin Foundation, which is named after Elba L. and Gene Portteus Branigin.
“It will provide ways to take advantage of Franklin in ways we haven’t experienced yet. As I look up and see three newly graduating kindergarteners in the front row…I envy them all and the years they’re going to have to enjoy this place,” said Dustin Huddleston, a Branigan Foundation representative. “The Branigin Foundation is thrilled to be a part of this for years to come.”
Marty and Carolyn Williams, who founded Discover Downtown Franklin and were instrumental in the growth of the Franklin Farmers Market, have been given a surprise name. City officials kept the names of the family members secret and released the news today, Barnett said. The city’s Volunteer of the Year award is also named after the couple.
Their daughter, Stacey Ogden, and other members of the Williams family were moved to tears by the surprise.
“It’s wonderful to see that so many of you knew my dad and loved my mom,” Ogden said. “Thank you to all the community members and volunteers who made this wonderful day possible. It is an honor to know how much my parents are truly appreciated by this wonderful community.
Branigin Square and Williams Square will house the Farmer’s Market and vendor areas for local festivals and the city’s concert series.
The grand opening ceremonies were part of a two-day event to celebrate the park.
IF YOU ARE GOING TO
The Youngs Creek Park Opening Weekend Celebration continues:
The grand opening continues into the evening.
Food trucks open at 4:30 p.m. and close at 10 p.m.
The opening act, Gavin Curry, will play from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and the main act, Blue River Band, will take the stage at 7 p.m.
Festival Country Luau is hosting a tropical luau-themed event to kick off festival season.
The food trucks are open from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
The opening act, Indyca, plays from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and the main act, Parrots of the Caribbean takes the stage at 7 p.m.
Source: Franklin Parks and Recreation