The Zionsville Parks and Recreation Department has been awarded two grants to assist with the acquisition and development of the future Carpenter Nature Preserve. The department has been nominated for a $3 million Next Level Conservation Trust grant for the acquisition of the Carpenter Nature Preserve and a $500,000 Land and Water Conservation Fund grant for the development of phase one of the Carpenter Nature Preserve.
The $3 million Next Level Conservation Trust grant will reimburse the Town for acquiring the land. The grant is a 3:1 matching grant that will not require local funds due to the bargain sale price of Carpenter Nature Preserve from property owners Jim and Nancy Carpenter. There are contingencies to receiving this grant – both acquisition of the land and the opening of a public park in a reasonable amount of time are required.
The $500,000 Land and Water Conservation Fund grant will be used toward the development of the Carpenter Nature Preserve. The grant is a 50/50 matching grant. Zionsville received the maximum grant amount.
“With a project of this importance and the positive impact it is easy to advocate and find partners to share in that vision,” said Superintendent Jarod Logsdon. “Now the work begins. We are grateful to the Carpenters for stepping in to secure the land over the past two years, to our residents for supporting this journey and to the Indiana DNR and Governor Holcomb’s office for continuing to champion recreation and the conservation of our natural spaces.”
During the January 18 Parks Board meeting, the board unanimously approved a declaratory resolution of preliminary determination to issue bonds. In the upcoming February 8 Parks Board meeting, there will be a public hearing concerning the bond request and additional appropriation for the acquisition and phase one development of the Carpenter Nature Preserve. Upon approval, the vote to issue a Carpenter Nature Preserve bond not to exceed $5.5 million will be before the Zionsville Town Council.
Contingent on the bonding process, the preliminary plan is for the Carpenter Nature Preserve to open in late 2025 or early 2026.
“I am extremely grateful to Parks Superintendent Jarod Logsdon and our entire Parks and Recreation team for the work they put into the grant process and into this remarkable future park. I want to recognize and thank the Carpenters – without them, we wouldn’t have generated this much progress and momentum. With the Carpenter Nature Preserve set to be the first park in Union Township and the largest nature preserve in our county, this will be a legacy for our current and future generations,” said Mayor Emily Styron.