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Why Now?

For more than 100 years, other local community initiatives have frequently held the White River as a keystone in planning and developing Central Indiana tourism and community activities.

The White River Master Plan is not intended to replace these initiatives, but to work with them to bring ideas to fruition. Creating a plan to enhance the White River in Indianapolis and Hamilton County guides regional growth for our century.

Get Involved. Spread the Word.

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City of Indianapolis

Also known as the “circle city,” Indianapolis was built and founded in 1822 on the banks of the White River. Early city planning efforts were led by George Kessler, a prominent landscape architect, who preserved open spaces along urban streams of the White River by creating continuous parks that extend and connect the city from southern neighborhoods like Southport to northern Broadripple.

This system of parks, corridors, and bridges is the largest nomination in the National Register of Historic Places and is recognized as one of the most significant landscape works by the American Society of Landscape Architects. Led by its 49th mayor, Joe Hogsett, the city has more than 870,000 residents, making it the 12th largest city nationwide. Professional sports venues, national conventions, and a variety of cultural attractions draw 28 million visitors to Indianapolis annually.

Hamilton County Indiana

Hamilton County, located just north of Indianapolis, was established along the winding White River in 1823. Its largest cities include Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, and Westfield, which were settled along the river’s banks. Even founder William Conner built his own home on the White River. His home and land were purchased and restored by Eli Lilly and is now featured by Conner Prairie, an interactive history park recreating the county’s 19th-century settlement on the river.

Hamilton County is the third largest tourism spot in Indiana and scores high on “Best Places to Live” lists nationally. History buffs and families love to step back in time at Conner Prairie, and music aficionados enjoy internationally-renowned music at The Palladium Performing Arts Center and Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center, the largest outdoor amphitheater statewide. Finally, outdoor enthusiasts can zip-line and ride horses at Strawtown Kotweei Park before enjoying two downtown art districts and more than 90 restaurants.

The Partners

Department of Metropolitan Development
Department of Metropolitan Development

From planning Indianapolis’ future to creating affordable homeownership, the Department of Metropolitan Development (DMD) works in partnership with other local city departments to build a world-class city for nearly 870,000 residents, neighborhood by neighborhood. The organization’s support of job and investment growth has made Indianapolis the 12th largest city nationwide. With connections to art, sports, nature, and culture supported by the DMD, nearly 29 million people visit Indianapolis and collectively spend $4.9 million dollars annually.

Visit Hamilton County, Indiana
Visit Hamilton County, Indiana

Hamilton County Tourism, Inc. is the authority in tourism marketing and supports community asset developments for Hamilton County, north of Indianapolis. The group partners with cities and the county to develop quality investments for Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and its northern communities. Like its residents, the team cherishes the historical heritage of the White River, which flows directly through the middle of Hamilton County, passing through eight nature areas and parks.

Visit Indy
Visit Indy

Since 1923, Visit Indy has proudly served as the city’s official sales and marketing organization, charged with driving tourism and enhancing the perception of Indy. More than 28 million people from around the globe visit Indy annually, generating more than $5.2 billion in economic impact while supporting more than 80,000 tourism jobs. The nonprofit’s Tourism Master Plan is a roadmap for where Indy tourism should be by 2025 and includes better activation of the White River among one of its many goals.

The Experts

Agency Landscape + Planning, a group of talented landscape architects, planners and urban designers, has been selected to lead a group of local and national businesses who specialize in regional outdoor projects and revitalization initiatives. Led by Gina Ford and Brie Hensold, Agency believes in a more resilient and equitable approach to planning and design that results in more relevant, contextual and vibrant public environments.

The Agency team also includes many local and national firms. Local partners include Christopher Burke Engineering / CBBEL, Engaging Solutions, RATIO, Porch Light, Landstory, Pure Design, Fineline Graphics, Shrewsberry and Project Photo Docs. National team members include Land Collective, Heritage Strategies, Applied Ecological Services / AES and HR&A Advisors.

Coming Soon!

During the process, we will ask you to tell us more about how you experience the White River and tell us your goals for the future of this shared asset. Stay tuned!

Take Survey

Community Engagement

Community participation and feedback is the most important aspect of developing a plan to create an ecologically and economically healthy corridor, which will weave neighborhoods, institutions, and destinations together, as well as amplify the natural beauty of the region and make the White River a defining element of the community’s daily experiences.

Community members in and around Central Indiana will be encouraged to share visions, needs, and desires for the White River Master Plan through a series of public meetings. They will have the chance to speak with local and national organizations leading the WRVP, tourism industry officials, environmental advocacy organizations, and elected officials. Feedback will be used to develop a vision statement, goals, and objectives to achieve the vision set forth by the community.

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