GREENFIELD — Greenfield’s nature park is receiving statewide recognition for how it was developed with private partnerships.
Beckenholdt Park on the city’s northwest side received the 2012 Award of Excellence for park development from the Indiana Park and Recreation Association.
The park was one of four across the state that received the award; awards were given based on funding levels for the departments. Vigo County, Bloomington and Carmel also received awards for development.
Chris Owens, director of the IPRA, said Beckenholdt Park was the only park nominated in its funding category, but the park deserved the recognition. He said the selection committee was impressed that the park, completed last year, was built mostly with sponsorships and community partnerships.
“The trend throughout the state and across the country is … as funds are cut and redistributed elsewhere, more so to public safety, parks have had to change and be more of a business model than a traditional subsidy,” he said. “The committee was particularly impressed with how this park was developed through partnership and sponsorship.”
The park opened in 2009 with a pond, partial walking trail, picnic pavilion, dog park and informational signs. Last year, additional trails and walking areas were added, along with an amphitheater for outdoor classroom space.
The non-profit Park Advocacy Research and Conservation Society got the project rolling, and over the years, grants helped fund its completion. City funding was used as a local match.
Parks director Ellen Kuker said she wasn’t surprised at the recognition.
“It’s my understanding that Beckenholdt really got legs because there was a small group of individuals in the community that had a vision and there just wasn’t anything that was going to stop them,” said Kuker, who took over as parks director in September. “The majority of that park was funded with non-taxpayer money, and that’s what’s unique about this project.”
Park board President Rick Roberts and parks maintenance foreman Jim McWhinney will accept the award at the IRPA state conference Jan. 17 in Bloomington.