Meadowlark Park is ready for its makeover.
The park at 450 Meadow Ln. just north of Main Street closed April 1 to undergo improvements as part of Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation’s Reimagining Parks initiative. CCPR Director Michael Klitzing said he expects the $3.5 million project to be complete by the end of 2021.
A major part of the project is restoring the park’s wetlands.
“We’re fortunate we have Little Cool Creek that flows through Meadowlark Park,” Klitzing said. “One of the challenges we’ve always had is, the eastern portion of the park where the existing shelter and the playground are located, have always gotten a little bit soggy when we get any degree of rain. The more we looked at the land and topography, (we realized) out there used to be wetlands. It’s in the creek’s floodplain, and it’s doing exactly what Mother Nature always intended for it to do. So instead of fighting Mother Nature, we wanted to make sure we are providing natural spaces, and that helps with flood control, too.”
Klitzing said the department decided to relocate the playground and shelters away from the eastern part of the park and relocate it to the center of the park, which is on higher ground within the park.
“That gave us the opportunity to bring in wetland prairies and boardwalks, which really will create a real nice nature experience,” Klitzing said. “People will see wildflowers and wetland plants. You’ll also see the insects and birds and pollinators that it attracts. It’s a cool nature experience in the heart of our city.”
Klitzing said the projects allowed CCPR to reimagine the playground and create a unique identity for Meadowlark Park. When the renovation is complete, the park will have four pickleball courts, which has been a top request from the public.
“We find the people that play the sport are quite committed to the sport and use the courts quite frequently,” Klitzing said.
Use of the courts will be free and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
The playgroup equipment will feature an artistic representation of trees. A lot of slides, climbing areas and tunnels also will be within the playground, Klitzing said.
There will be restroom facilities in Meadowlark Park for the first time, as opposed to portable units.
“We’re going to install a new fishing pier that is closer to the parking lot,” Klitzing said. “It will be fully wheelchair accessible.”
Klitzing is working to ensure each park in the CCPR system has a different look.
“If someone goes to visit Meadowlark, we want it to be a different experience than if you went to Westermeier Commons at Central Park or the new playground we constructed at Carey Grove,” Klitzing said. “Every park is going to have swings and slides, for example, but we try to make sure the overall aesthetic design and type of experience provided is unique, so a parent or guardian can do a tour of the parks and each one feel completely (different).”