Celebration marks new chapter for Tarkington Park

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Dozens of people gathered at Tarkington Park Saturday to celebrate a new chapter for the north side park. Nearly $6 million was invested into the grounds to add features like a modern playground, a splash pad and climbing wall.

City officials and residents say the improved park will make a lasting impact on families that live in the neighborhood.

Longtime resident Walter Smith said his memories at the park date back decades.

"This park taught us a lot of about humility dignity and character," Smith said. "It’s a sense of joy and happiness to see the park revitalized. Kids can again once come untie and have fun together."

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett was on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday morning.

"Because the community has come together to support the park, we’ve been able to transform what had been a worn down park into really cutting edge state of the art facility," Hogsett said.

The new park is already offering programs for Indy's youth. The Tarkington Park work crew consisted offered teenagers jobs during summer break to clean the park, mentor other kids and work with police officers.

Ty Lewis said he heard about the program through a coach.

"He was telling me about this job and how it would make a difference," Lewis said. "We started working and we kept going. It’s been a great six weeks."

Throughout Saturday, there were activities at the park that showcased the programs Indy Parks hopes to host there on a regular basis.

"This place is truly one of the best things we’ve ever done as a city," said Linda Broadfoot, director of Indy Parks.

To ensure safety, the neighborhood association is working with IMPD to increase patrols. Indy Parks has also hired a full-time park director who will be on site throughout the workweek to keep things running smoothly.