Tarkington Park plans fall short

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(July 7, 2015) – Tarkington Park, in midtown Indianapolis, is due for a major facelift.

Plans call for this ten acre piece of land wedged between Meridian and Illinois and 39th Street, to feature a farmer’s market, dog park, a performance stage and a café.  But cuts may be coming before this park is transformed.

“The bids came back a little high. We were about 20 percent over budget,” says Michael McKillip of Midtown Inc. “When you take that much out of a park, you’re taking a pretty good surgical knife to it.”

The first to go will be the care and stage, elements developers hoped would make the park self-sustaining, and push Indianapolis out of the bottom of metro park rankings.

But if it truly would become a destination urban park, it’s anticipated that nearby businesses and real estate would get a much needed economic jolt.

The owner of Curly’s Cleaners has already remodeled his store and a new façade is being built.

“It will be good for everybody, that’s been here and hopefully we can attract a couple of new places for our empty store fronts now,” says owner, Michael Knowlton.

The park could spark a transformation of the entire dilapidated area which has suffered extensive resident loss.

“We’re trying to drive residents back here, and we wanted play elements in the park. But we really wanted a community center,” says McKillip.

30,000 people live within 3 miles of Tarkington Park. 46,000 cars roll through the intersection of 38th and Illinois.

But as each day passes without the half million dollars needed to complete phase 1 of this 12 million dollars project, hopes are being dashed.

“Tarkington Park was an opportunity for us to prove Indianapolis can do parks really well,” says McKillip.

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