The Times photo by Betsy Reason
Noblesville’s Chris Beaver (second from left) and his daughter, Ali Beaver, of Beaver Materials, are working with Hamilton County Parks director Chris Stice (second from right) and Deputy Director Bruce Oldham (right) to expand Potter’s Bridge Park in Noblesville with an additional 50 acres that would offer recreational amenities for the community.
The Times photo by Betsy Reason Noblesville’s Chris Beaver (second from left) and his daughter, Ali Beaver, of Beaver Materials, are working with Hamilton County Parks director Chris Stice (second from right) and Deputy Director Bruce Oldham (right) to expand Potter’s Bridge Park in Noblesville with an additional 50 acres that would offer recreational amenities for the community.
Chris Beaver has a big smile on his face as he talks about finding yet another way for the Beaver family to give back to the community.
Beaver, 56, Noblesville, is the owner of Beaver Materials, a more than 70-year-old Noblesville-based fifth-generation family-owned company that produces sand, gravel and crushed concrete.
Two years ago, Beaver Materials paid $83,000 for the naming rights of the Noblesville Millers’ football field and named it Beaver Materials Field.
Now, Beaver Materials is partnering with Hamilton County Parks and Recreation with plans to expand Potter’s Bridge Park in Noblesville.
The company would purchase about 50 acres of Heinzman family farm fields that are for sale in between two parcels of park-owned land, between White River Greenway and Potter’s Bridge Park.
In Phase I, Beaver Materials would donate 10 acres of the land to the 75-acre park to expand trails and to add to the connectivity. In Phase II, Beaver Materials would mine gravel on the remaining 40-acre parcel, which is in flood plain, to create a 30-acre natural lake and then donate the property, over time, to Hamilton County Parks for future use for recreational activities.
“We’re excited about the whole thing,” Chris Beaver said, as he smiled behind his facial mask, on Tuesday during this interview while meeting at Potter’s Bridge Park with his daughter, Ali Beaver, a business development associate at Beaver Materials and parks department officials’ executive director Chris Stice and deputy director Bruce Oldham.
“We’ve met multiple times with the land. We’ve drilled it. We’ve done everything we could to make sure there’s sand and gravel there. We have a deal and contract signed. Now, we just gotta work it through the process,” Chris Beaver said.
“I think the big thing is that this will connect two pieces of property that the park has … So they can really broaden these trails, so that there is more than one way a trail flows. With how popular that this park has gotten, we can have trails that multiple people can be on at the same time and not be crowded … This here will open up so much more trail area,” he said.
Stice, a Hamilton County Parks employee of 25 years (when the county owned 200 acres) and who this year was promoted to parks director (overseeing the current more than 1,600 acres), said the additional park land (which would grow Potter’s Bridge Park from 75 acres to 125 acres) “will relieve some of the congestion in this park.” He called the Beavers’ partnership “a blessing to our community.”
Stice said it’s the Beaver family’s opportunity to leave a legacy that “says a lot about their philanthropic contributions to Noblesville. It’s a blessing, and it’s something that doesn’t happen very often in many communities. We’re blessed to have the Beaver family and this organization a part of our community. They’re setting a legacy that will be far beyond us.”
Passersby may have noticed new signage -- on that property on the west side of Allisonville Road just south of Potter’s Bridge Park -- that reads a teaser: “More Parks, More Fun.”
The community is invited to learn about the potential expansion of the park at a public neighborhood meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 14, at the site of the historic Potter’s Bridge at Potter’s Bridge Park, 19401 N. Allisonville Road, Noblesville. “We thought what better place to do it than this beautiful Potter’s Bridge.” Chris Beaver said, stressing the social distancing during this COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease) pandemic. He said there would be different stations where the public can move throughout the park parking area to learn about the expansion project, “so that people feel comfortable to come because of COVID, and we’re going to follow all of the restrictions.”
During Monday’s outdoor meeting at the park and in the coming months, Beaver and the parks department will seek public input to learn how this project can best serve the community.
“I think one good thing that has come out of COVID-19 is that people have got back to nature, things that are free to them that are here,” Chris Beaver said.
Stice agreed, noting the popularity of using the White River (White River Canoe Co.) for recreational activities since the pandemic.
Oldham unfolded a rendering that maps the expanded property. “We envision trails and some water recreation opportunities and access,” he said.
Oldham, a former intern who returned to the parks department in 2005 and who most recently was regional parks operations manager, was named deputy director this year. He said, “It’s important as a parks department and it’s in our master plan to try to acquire additional park acreage. It’s only through partnerships and building good relationships are we able to do that.”
But the parks project is not yet a done-did deal. The purchase is contingent upon approved zoning and approval from everyone around.
This fall, the project is scheduled to go for its first and second readings in front of Noblesville Common Council, on Nov. 10 and 24, at Noblesville City Hall. The project would also be on an upcoming agenda of Noblesville Board of Zoning Appeals.
“The City planning meetings will dictate what we’re allowed to do,” said Chris Beaver, who on Tuesday afternoon was headed next to a City of Noblesville meeting with their attorneys. There will be lots of meetings, all being controlled by the city of Noblesville because the park is located in Noblesville’s jurisdiction, he said.
The project will take shape as it goes through the process.
“I think we have a good vision. We have a good idea of what we want. But we also know that the public input, the City input, everybody’s officials will have control over what we do,” he said. “...The biggest thing I’ve learned from doing this is that you have to be pretty flexible.” Even the state will have some input, Beaver said. “Everything you do is regulated by someone.”
For Chris Beaver -- a 1983 graduate of Noblesville High School and president of Miller backers athletic boosters -- giving back to the community just feels like the right thing to do.
He grew up here. His father, Allyn Beaver, grew up here. His grandfather, Marion Beaver, grew up here. His great-grandfather, Forrest Beaver, grew up here. And his daughters, Brittny and Ali, grew up here.
“This community has always been good to us. And we just want to make sure that we’re a good steward to the community. You can’t have your kids live here, and you can’t have your grandkids come to school here, you can’t have a family of our size, if you’re not willing to give back,” Chris Beaver said.
Before Beaver Materials bought the naming rights to the football field, the company was already mining gravel for the past 10 years at Hamilton County Parks’ Strawtown Koteewi Park, with no cost to the county, to convert the leftover pit into a 19-acre recreational lake. Koteewi Lake officially opens on Saturday to the public for paddle boats and fishing. (I will write more about Noblesville’s Koteewi Lake in an upcoming edition of The Times.) (And, by the way, the dirt from the mining at Koteewi Lake was used to create Koteewi Run Seasonal Slopes tubing hill at Koteewi Park.)
“We have to be a good trade partner …. So we’ve reached out to the county parks, to the schools, to the county administration and the City to make sure that we’re reaching to the people who do good,” he said, giving examples of good trade partners -- K-Trails Equestrian Trails, Koteewi Sport & Target Archery Center and Edge Adventures -- that have helped Koteewi Park to grow.
Similar to Koteewi Lake, the mining for the Potter’s Bridge Park project would be a 10-year plan driven by the economy. It’s a win-win for Beaver Materials and for Hamilton County Parks. That’s because it isn’t always easy to find a large enough piece of land that’s appropriate for mining.
But, Chris Beaver said, “We’re not doing this to gain only on a financial side, we’re doing this to make sure this is the best community in the state of Indiana.”
Beaver Materials started out as a father-and-son business, as the original Beaver Gravel maintained gravel roads for Hamilton County in the late 1940s. During this time, Forrest Beaver and his son Marion Beaver would dry bank sand and gravel from the pit then load it onto horse-drawn wagons to spread onto the gravel roads. They did this together for two years before starting F. Beaver and Son gravel pit in 1949.
The Beavers believe that a strong community is the backbone of a strong business, said Ali Beaver, a 2015 NHS grad who cheered in high school and in college at Butler University and is the new cheer coach this school year at NHS. “We really make it a point to give back to the community as much as we can.”
She said her dad’s been a great mentor, taking her to business luncheons and teaching her about life and what his dad taught him.
Ali Beaver said, “We’re trying to leave our land better than we found it. We’re trying to restore that land as soon as we’re done, making it useful again.”

-Contact Betsy Reason at The Potter’s Bridge Park expansion isn’t the only project that the Beavers are involved in right now to leave their legacy in Noblesville. They’re also creating a Jane Beaver Legacy Diamonds landmark at the Noblesville Babe Ruth baseball diamonds in honor of Chris Beaver’s mother, Jane (Hoppe) Beaver, who died on April 17, at age 77. She was a huge fan of attending sporting events in which her grandchildren participated. Read more in this column in an upcoming edition of The Times.