We have an exciting social event next weekend. On May 20 we’ll host our second annual porch party – any Village Residents Association member can attend. It will be from 3 – 5pm on West Cedar Street between 4th and 5th Streets. Bring a sweet or savory bite-sized appetizer to share. Bring your own drinks and your own chair. Music, fun, games, and more!

Our social committee has been busy and has some ideas for future events underway. Look for a flier hand-delivered to every house in the Village within the next few days.

Then our next official VRA meeting will be on June 27 at the SullivanMunce Cultural Center. Learn about making a fairy garden (kids welcome!) and hear more information about the Century Structure program.

It’s time to do some spring cleaning at SullivanMunce! Since we don’t pay to rent the space for our meetings, the VRA helps keep the gutters clean. Saturday, May 20 at 9 am (rain date, May 21 at 9 am). It goes quickly with lots of help! We’ll have a few ladders, but if you live nearby and can bring your own it’s helpful. Contact president@zvra.com if you can attend.

If you’re seeking other fun things to experience this summer, below you can read about the literacy campaign from the Lions Club, Stories in the Park.

As we look toward elections in the fall, if anyone is interested in being an officer or on the board of the VRA, please reach out to president@zvra.com.

From town councilor Josh Garrett:

In April the Council voted 6-1 in favor of a bond issuance to purchase the land that was formerly Wolff Run Golf Course.  I chose to vote with the majority because the economics of the park acquisition were too much of an opportunity to pass up.

Our park system has expanded significantly over the past 7 years I’ve been on the Council.  This includes new parks, new park features and updates/upgrades to existing parks.  Those additions were as recently as March where the Council approved $300K to add four pickleball courts to Mulberry Fields.   This expansion also includes increases to our trail system, an ever popular and beneficial component of any community.

While I am a fan of parks and what they provide to our Town, any rapid expansion comes with concerns about if it is too much too soon.  It is important that any fiduciary body fully understands that we as a community can afford this expansion as well as have the capabilities to maintain new elements when opened.  I’ve previously mentioned our continued concerns with our financial systems and reporting, which makes that decision more difficult.

The acquisition of the land is a big undertaking and not cheap.  The bond itself is up to $5.5 million, which means any decision with that much taxpayer money must be carefully considered.  While my decision was not entirely financial-based, there were a few numbers that made the acquisition outweigh the risk including:

  • The bond interest rate will most likely be below 4% (not to exceed 5%).  Given where the Federal Funds rate stands today, it was interesting our rate would be lower even with our recent credit downgrade.  Councilor Traylor, who is in the banking industry, confirmed this anticipated rate.

  • Jim and Nancy Carpenter, the current owners of the land, have agreed to sell it to the Town for $4.52 million.  This represents a discount off the assessed value of $6 million and is a very generous price from these local residents.  In addition, Mrs. Carpenter announced in the meeting they would seed the Zionsville Parks Foundation with $500K if the land was purchased.  I cannot thank them enough for their generosity.

  • The Parks Department has secured a $3 million grant from the Next Level Conservation Trust which is funded by the State.  That money is made available to us immediately upon land acquisition and can be used to fund improvements to the park.

  • The Parks Department has also secured a $500K Land and Water Conservation grant that can be used on the Carpenter Nature Preserve.

  • The Parks Department is working on qualifying for additional Indiana Department of Natural Resources (INDR) Stream and Wetland grant that could be worth up to $4 million.

With discounted land tied to compounding grants, it made sense for the community to lock down this land and look towards future improvements including trails, playgrounds, boardwalk and possible nature center.  All of this while not increasing taxes for most residents.

Stories in the Park:

“Stories in the Park” at the Gazebo in Zionsville Lions Park returns again this year! Come celebrate the joy of reading with puppets, storytelling, reading, games and poetry. The Indy Book Project will give each child a free book.

Plus, the Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Public Library bookmobile will be at the park so kids can browse through a wide range of books. The event is targeted to ages preschool to fourth grade. Registration not necessary – plan to attend and enjoy stories in the park!

Friday, June 9, at the Zionsville Lions Park Gazebo from 10 am to noon. (Rain Date is Tuesday, June 13th 10 am to Noon)

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