By Lindsay Doty
The public can now check out Hendricks County’s new legacy nature park. A grand opening for W.S. Gibbs Memorial Park was held July 21.
Hendricks County Parks and Recreation, which also operates McCloud Nature Park and part of the Vandalia Trail, has developed 70-acres of the 140-acre property.
The nature-themed legacy park includes over 2 miles of trails, woods, prairie and green space. It has ponds that will eventually be stocked with fish, including bluegill and largemouth bass for future consumptive fishing. The park has a fishing dock (ADA accessible), two nature-themed playgrounds (for both little and big kids), shelters for rent, an 18-hole disc golf course and a 30-foot sledding hill for snowy days.
“It is a fantastic feeling to see it come together with a tremendous amount of planning,” said Ryan Lemley, Hendricks County Parks and Recreation superintendent. “What separates it from other parks is we are nature-based. We mimic a state park management philosophy. Just being able to be part of a legacy project that is going to enhance the community and quality of life. It is extremely special.”
The park is located on Gibbs Road between County Road 200 South and County Road 350 South at 4521 Gibbs Road, Danville. But the town of Avon annexed the land, so it is within town limits.
The vision for Gibbs dates back to 2009 when the Hendricks County Park Board, with the support of county leaders, purchased 140 acres for over $1 million from the Gibbs family. The project was funded through the existing park funds over the years, the sale of Sodalis Nature Park to the town of Plainfield ($300,000), and money from the innkeeper’s tax that supports the parks. Parks leaders are currently applying for grant money through the Indiana DNR to fund more development.
W.S. Gibbs Memorial Park will be developed through the years and eventually served as a hub for the parks department to have offices.