Indianapolis – For over two years Councillor Angela Mansfield has worked to keep 15 acres of open field at 8900 Ditch Road a community asset. That hard work paid off Wednesday night when the Metropolitan School District of Washington Township voted unanimously to lease the land to the Daubenspeck Community Nature Park (DCNP).
Since December 2003, Councillor Mansfield has spent countless hours working with citizens and neighborhood associations to keep the land out of the hands of private development and in the hands of the neighborhood that wants to turn the park into a nature preserve. She also forged a relationship with the community and the school district that resulted in DCNP leasing the land for the next 30 years.
Councillor Mansfield said, "I have a wonderful district, but it has very little park space. The agreement reached between the school district and DCNP gives my district additional green space, and it allows all parties to be winners. Adults and children will now have a place to enjoy nature, and classrooms can conduct educational field trips centered on plant life, not to mention the benefit that the school district gets in not having to be responsible for maintaining the land. "
The site was donated to the school in 1965 for the purpose of serving the community. It was being considered for development before Councillor Mansfield galvanized political support to keep the donated land free and open to the public as a nature park. That also lead to the creation of the DCNP in 2005, which is a not-for-profit that will raise funds for upkeep of the land.
"This project clearly shows how schools and the community can come together to provide and enhance the quality of life in a neighborhood," said Councillor Mansfield. "Working with the community and school to forge such a wonderful and long-term agreement is one of the greatest accomplishments I’ve had as a Councillor and I look forward to other rewarding projects," she said.
Currently, the space is open to the public and often attracts walkers. Once the Nature Park is complete it will consist of plant life that is native to Indiana and walking trails. It is anticipated that it will take eight to nine months to design and develop the space.