The White River Vision Plan (WRVP) is intended to improve access to the river for both residents and visitors; improve the environmental value and ecological quality of the river corridor; connect attractions, arts and entertainment venues, hiking and biking trails, and neighborhoods; and highlight experiences along the river that contribute to our shared cultural heritage and history. Our team’s goal is collect input from everyone who wants to share their voice about how all of this happens – including those who don’t even know that their voice needs to be heard during this process. Over the last few months, our team has been at public events, HOA meetings, libraries, and business networking sessions to talk to residents about what they want – or don’t want – for the future of our White River, but we want to hear from more residents!
Since this is a plan that will be implemented for several years to come, our team is eager to hear from young people. Earlier this fall, the Noblesville Mayor’s Youth Council gathered for a two-hour session to provide input about how they use the river currently and contribute their ideas on ways in which to activate underutilized places along the river. The Youth Council members, ages 14-18, started the day with a walk along the Noblesville Riverwalk, where they shared their own White River stories and memories, and where new ideas began to take shape.
After the tour, the Mayor’s Youth Council assembled back at City Hall for a quick overview of the project. Then, the group divided into teams and discussed what they envision for Noblesville, as well as the entire 58-mile study area of the White River.
The Mayor’s Youth Council was not short on ideas! Here are just a few highlights from the brainstorming session:
- Preserve the history and small-town feel of Noblesville
- Prioritize the health of the river and make clean-up days a competition
- Clearly mark the areas where the public can directly access the river
- Create and identify ADA accessible entry points
- Use the river to improve the health of all residents through more recreation opportunities
- Host a triathlon on the river, with kayaking instead of swimming
- Add destination restaurants to the right locations – such as an already developed area
- Have an art fair on the river with artists creating work on the spot
- Keep Potter’s Bridge Park the same and encourage visitation to this unique spot
- Identify safe places for fishing
- Invest in existing parks currently along the river (like Garfield Park, White River State Park, Strawtown Koteewi Park, and Forest Park) by adding more signage on how to access the river or increasing accessibility to create more opportunities for guided walks or canoes/kayaks on the river
During the meeting, the Noblesville Mayor’s Youth Council was engaged, interested, and full of ideas for the WRVP! We are excited to continue to involve them and other youth throughout Marion and Hamilton County – such as local Girl Scouts troops and the Carmel Mayor’s Youth Council – as the plan continues into 2019. If you have a group you would like to get involved, please let us know!