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home : columnists : columnists July 25, 2017

3/6/2017 4:00:00 AM
Let's save our Seminary Park
The Times photo by Betsy ReasonShakespeare in the Park vocalist Rylie Gendron sings as she walks with moderator, Noblesvilleís Mark Tumey, during Noblesville Cultural Arts Commissionís 2016 Shakespeare in the Park at Seminary Park in Noblesville.
The Times photo by Betsy Reason

Shakespeare in the Park vocalist Rylie Gendron sings as she walks with moderator, Noblesvilleís Mark Tumey, during Noblesville Cultural Arts Commissionís 2016 Shakespeare in the Park at Seminary Park in Noblesville.

By Betsy Reason

It saddens me to hear that the City of Noblesville would consider selling Seminary Park in downtown Noblesville.

And that the City is already working with a developer that would come in and build homes there.

And also that they could pull the trigger on this behind-closed-doors orchestrated torpedo before people in Old Town have a chance to even find out about the plans.

The city-owned park is at 200 S. 10th St., bounded by 10th, 11th, Division and Hannibal streets. The park was established in 1983. But the history of the park goes back to 1850, when Seminary School, the first public school in Hamilton County, opened on that property. The school building was replaced in 1872 with the second Seminary School, which eventually became Second Ward School.

The City's plans are to sell .88 acres of the park's 1.3 acres to a developer, who would build a single neighborhood with 12 homes there. The City would enhance the remaining .42-acre park area, with the existing gazebo moved or a new gazebo constructed, new fencing added on the west side of the park, and also new seating and a dog-watering station added.

Why can't the City make these improvements to the park without losing two-thirds of the park? The park has been appraised at $140,000. Isn't the green space in downtown Noblesville worth more than that to our community?

We live in Old Town Noblesville, and Seminary Park is our neighborhood park.

We go there to play on the playground and to enjoy the green space. We went sledding on the park's rolling hills when my daughter was little. We have attended summer band concerts, festivals and Shakespeare in the Park there.

Does the City of Noblesville think that because Federal Hill Commons park is opening in April that there is not a need for Seminary Park as it exists? Does the City think the park will go underutilized?

Granted, the new Federal Hill Commons will become the setting for Noblesville Farmers Market, Shakespeare in the Park and other outdoor events.

But don't take away our neighborhood park, our neighborhood green space.

The City contends that the Seminary Square housing development would increase the City's tax base for the betterment of the overall community by modifying underutilized property with an annual revenue of nearly $21,000, the estimate based on residential homes valued at $225,000, or a total of $2.7 million value of the 12 new homes.

The next Board of Public Works and Safety meeting is at 9 a.m. March 14, and the next Common Council meeting is at 7 p.m. March 14, both at City Hall.

-Contact me at betsy@thetimes24-7.com.

Related Stories:
• New homes could replace park

Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, March 6, 2017
Article comment by: Debra Thatcher

That is not what the green space was designed for. There are plenty other areas to build without reducing the green space from area with people who have less than most. How are house this not a fire hazard?

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