Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Plan


With adoption, the Plan 2020 update to the Indianapolis Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Plan is complete and no further updates are planned for this website.  This site’s content will be retained for archival purposes. Please visit the City of Indianapolis website for future updates.

What is the Plan?

The Indianapolis Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Plan describes the present state and future vision for recreation opportunities in Indianapolis-Marion County.  It is made up of 14 sections that cover a variety of topics including: Planning Area, Public Participation, Natural Resources, Cultural Legacy, Demographic Profiles, Facilities & Programs, Rehabilitation Inventory, Universal Access Evaluation, Identified Needs, Implementation & Action Plan, and an Evaluation of the Plan.

This Plan documents the current status of Marion County Parks and Open Spaces. It also develops a blueprint for the creation and preservation of open spaces, recreation facilities and parks.

The most recent Open space plan was approved by the Parks and Recreation Board and adopted by the Metropolitan Development Commission of DMD in 2009. It is a component of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan for all of Indianapolis-Marion County, Indiana.

Who uses the Plan?

The Open Space Plan is a valuable tool for Indy Parks and the City of Indianapolis to identify the direction for present and future recreation activities within Marion County. The plan will establish a framework for sensible development of park and recreation services. Having an Open Space Plan is not only beneficial for Park Board members and recreation planners, but it also gives the community a clear sense of Indy Parks’ direction.

Indy Parks partners with sister agencies, the Department of Metropolitan Development and Department of Public Works in its writing of the County’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan. Park planning staff participate in both internal and public meetings throughout the drafting of the plan. The recommendations regarding treatment of greenways and land acquisition in this plan mirror those in the Land Use Plan.

The Open Space Plan provides the foundation that will guide the Indianapolis Department of Parks and Recreation as well as public and private partners. The Open Space Place Plan is also an essential cornerstone to maintain (CAPRA) accreditation from the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA).

How is the Plan implemented?

The plan is implemented incrementally over time. The most visible method of implementation is when the plan is used to increase or consolidate land, programs, or services, and support grant funding (by the City of Indianapolis, Indianapolis Parks Foundation, or our partners) to develop new amenities or programs proposed in specific park master plans. The Plan is also implemented as it creates priorities for strategic planning, evaluation of existing and future amenities and programs, and spending of budgeted capital improvement dollars.

How is this update different from past updates?

The current plan focuses on how parks can assist in efforts for keeping and attracting residents to Marion County. Particular focus was paid to increasing quality of life, improvement of general health and well-being, increasing connectivity, finding efficiencies, and increasing revenue and users.