NOTE – Terry Mitchell wrote the following comment on Nextdoor.com about the Town Hall meeting last night.
I just wanted to recap my takeaways from last nights town hall meeting held by Janice McHenry, First of all, there is a billboard proposal on the books for Indianapolis, and that was presented well and is important to get support, please reach out to the appropriate people and support the effort of that proposal on January 14th, I know I will.
Indy Parks was invited and present at the meeting to talk about (among other things) their recent Lilly Grant that was won, it encompasses a $2.6 million dollar plan to develop the west side of the park, which would put in ADA accessible hiking trails, but not in (as refereed to by the Indy Parks staff) “Eagle Creek Proper”, putting instead the ADA trails away from the other amenities offered in a totally segregated part of the park. Hoosier Mountain Bike Association(HMBA) had a large(approximately half) showing at the town hall meeting, and despite our best efforts to work with Eagle Creek on proper development of these trails as multi use to reach the broadest group of users possible, HMBA and the mountain biking community has been shut out by Indy Parks. When questions arose by the mountain biking community at the end of Indy Parks presentations as to why an entire user group who is passionate and willing to volunteer to build trails, fundraiser for trails, and most importantly stay around to maintain the trails once they are built, Janice McHenry shut the meeting down saying; This is MY meeting and we are not here to talk about mountain biking at MY parks. In a conversation with Brittany Davis Swinford(Eagle Creek Park Senior Manager) after the meeting she said; I am the park manager and I get to determine which user groups can use the park. And Don Colvin(Deputy Director of Indy Parks) repeatedly said in that same conversation; that there is no such thing as multi use trails. It is clear that none of these people are willing to listen to public input about the future of the park and that they want to have it their way.
While both Brittany Davis and Don Colvin are not in elected positions, their direct boss and Director of Indy Parks Linda Broadfoot is appointed by our elected officials, and needs to hold her employees responsible for making the parks the best that they can be.
Please see the attached document, outlining the poor performance of Indy Parks (ranked 98th out of 98 in 2017) then I would encourage you to reach out to your City County Council member and let them know that it is important that our elected officials follow the guidance of their constituents.
We should NEVER allow politicians and employees of the government who think that OUR parks are THEIRS and theirs alone to do what they want making decisions. If you would like more information about mountain biking and its impact on the economy and our natural resources, or to have a conversation about any of this, I would encourage you to reach out, I would love to sit down over a cup of coffee and talk about/answer any questions, and if I can’t answer them, I can hopefully point you in the direction of someone who can!