Next step set for nature preserve


The Zionsville Parks and Recreation Dept. is seeking public input with a survey on the Carpenter Nature Preserve.

Jarod Logsdon, superintendent of parks and recreation, said the generosity of Jim and Nancy Carpenter has given the parks department the opportunity to acquire a 215-acre parcel and create the largest park and conserved natural space in Zionsville. The Carpenter Nature Preserve will feature trails, protected habitats, boardwalks and serve as the home of a future Zionsville Nature Center.

The parks department will use a variety of funding strategies for the legacy project, and some of those funding options require the Town of Zionsville to own the parcel to be eligible, Logsdon said. The parks and recreation board is considering securing a bond to purchase the land for the nature preserve and use the remaining funds to begin construction design. The Carpenters purchased the land in 2021 and are the temporary landowners. Logsdon said the Carpenters have offered to discount $1.5 million from the appraised price, at a minimum.

“We’re at the point where we need to purchase the land so we can go on with this legacy project,” Logsdon said. “Once we are the owners, it unlocks multiple grants and allows the foundation to fundraise for particular things on the site and really gets the ball rolling.”

The master plan process began at the beginning of this year.

“We invited the public to review what we found for the planning of the site,” Logsdon said. “We did receive great feedback there.”

More than 1,400 responses were received, Logsdon said.

“But that’s only a small portion,” he said. “Now that we’ve presented this master plan to town council, the parks board and the community, we understand this is going to be a large project and it’s going to need funding mechanisms from all types of varieties. We’re prepared to acquire those opportunities whenever they come up, whether that is grants, impact fees or fundraising of Zionsville Parks Foundation. All of those opportunities, we’ll definitely capitalize on but a lot of those opportunities require the town to own the land.”

Logsdon said the department wanted to ask the community how it felt about the town securing a $5 million bond to purchase the land.

Logsdon said conserving green space is important as Zionsville continues to grow.