Parks department plans 2018 projects for city

Officials: Upgrades at Riley Pool, development of new area among slated items

GREENFIELD — The Greenfield Parks and Recreation Department has a full slate of changes planned for 2018, with more than two dozen projects that include building a splash pad at Riley Pool and expanding dog park and playground options at Greenfield parks.

Parks leaders said they’re looking forward to starting and completing several major projects that will improve the community and provide more recreation options to residents.

Pool upgrades

A $2 million splash pad project at Riley Pool is slated to break ground next month, with plans for a three-phase layout with zones for toddlers, young children and older children, said parks superintendent Ellen Kuker.

Plans call for spray features and dump buckets for kids of all ages, especially youngsters, to be built south of the pool.

City officials have long planned to upgrade the Riley Park Pool, which was first built in the 1980s and has remained mostly the same since; a 2005 attempt to take out a $3.5 million bond to build a new water park, complete with slides and a lazy river was vetoed by former Mayor Rodney Fleming.

Greenfield’s pool has been losing customers to neighboring communities with splash pad and water park amenities, said parks maintenance foreman Josh Gentry.

“The Shelbyville pool is a great facility, though a little farther away,” he said. “People have been driving there for that experience; our pool is a little dated.”

A second project to renovate the existing pool and its amenities is planned to begin in the fall of 2018 and open in May 2019, Kuker said. That project will add shade structures, cabanas, renovated bathrooms and locker rooms, as well as a reconfigured admission area, she said at Wednesday’s meeting.

A new park 

Most people don’t know Macy Park exists, parks officials said. The plot of land near the Keystone housing addition south of McKenzie Road, between Blue Road and County Road 400E, is currently little more than a large boulder and a partially-mowed plot of land neighborhood kids sometimes use to toss a football around on, Gentry said.

Plans call for a paved parking lot, playground equipment and several permanent game boards and activity areas, Kuker said. Area Girl and Boy Scouts, completing their capstone projects, plan to install a sand volleyball court and an outdoor beanbag game, she said.

A second phase plans for a walking path to encircle the entire park, she said.

Gentry said the city’s parks have evolved since the 1980s, from offering similar amenities at every park to providing unique experiences at each based on the park’s topography.

“People look for different amenities, equipment and experiences, and they’re willing to drive a little farther for that,” he said. “We can offer wider experiences.”

For example, Gentry and fellow staff members in 2017 installed a disc golf course at Riley Park, an experience not offered anywhere else in the county, he said. Meanwhile, Beckenholdt Park offers walking trails through natural marshland, and the Thornwood Reserve is a favorite spot for birdwatchers.

Other changes

The coming year will bring dozens of smaller projects to maintain and enhance the city’s existing facilities, Kuker said.

The Parks Board on Wednesday approved the expense of fencing to alter the dog park at Beckenholdt Park. The dog park is self-policed, and park patrons have been asking for a separate area especially for smaller dogs, she said. The fencing will cordon off a third of the dog park for smaller pups.

Maintenance and additions are also planned for the Pennsy Trail, the east-west walking trail that runs just south of U.S. 40.

Parks board member Deby Low often uses the Pennsy Trail for walking and biking, she said. She looks forward to the improvements planned for the trail, including exercise equipment at the Pennsy Trail Fit Park at Center Street, art installations along the trail and painting of rails and pergolas.

Projects completed in 2017

Here’s a look at some of the projects the Greenfield Parks and Recreation Department completed in 2017:

  • Installed faux fireplaces in the Riley Park shelter house
  • Installed a new sign with stone and metal lettering at Beckenholdt Park (with the help of Park Chapel Christian Church’s Serve Day)
  • Completed the Beckenholdt Park native tree walk with signs
  • Moved the fencing at Riley Pool to include more green space for patrons
  • Installed railings along the walkways and railings at Beckenholdt Park
  • Replaced four rims and nets on Riley Park basketball courts
  • Adjusted landscaping in several areas to be more welcoming
  • Installed a bike rack by the Riley Park ball diamonds – an Eagle Scout project
  • Sealed the wood walkways at Beckenholdt Park
  • Expanded the parking lot at Brandywine Park
  • Painted wooden bridge railings and gazebos along the Pennsy Trail
  • Installed equipment at the Pennsy Trail Fit Park at Center Street
  • Resurfaced Riley Park tennis courts and painted pickleball striping
  • Assembled and installed new playground equipment
  • Renovated the concession stand at Riley Park ball fields
  • Installed the “Reading with Riley” statue and monument in front of the James W. Riley Boyhood Home and Museum
Author photo
Rorye Hatcher is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at ​317-477-3211 or