Parks play a vital role in society. More than just a place to relax and have fun, parks provide economic value, health and environmental benefits and social importance to communities. Hendricks County, Indiana, already boasts an impressive system of parks, and we are excited to see even more parks recently arriving or coming our way soon. Let's check them out!

Explore Pecar Park in Avon!Pecar Park

Located at 5203 E. County Road 150 North in Avon, Pecar Park enjoyed its grand opening to the public on April 27. The new 46-acre nature park is operated by Washington Township Parks & Recreation, and it features a nature center, a playground, some trails, eight primitive campsites, an outdoor classroom, a bird-viewing area, a bird aviary, Raccoon Lagoon and a low ropes challenge facility.

A naturalist is at the park throughout the week to provide programming and educational opportunities and answer questions.

My fellow blogger, Jamie Hergott, recently visited the new Pecar Park with her son. To learn about her experience there, click here.

Talon Stream Park

Plainfield Parks & Recreation cut the ribbon on Talon Stream Park in October 2018, adding a trail, a shelter house, and some shaded areas to rest on the north side of the Richard A. Carlucci Recreation & Aquatic Center. The park abuts White Lick Creek, so walks along the trail at Talon Stream Park provide great views of the moving water. The photo at the top of this post was taken at Talon Stream Park.

My favorite part of this park is that it was built on an old landfill. The Town of Plainfield worked with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) to reinforce the creek banks, clean up hazardous materials, and cap the dumpsite. Top soil was then added to the site to make it environmentally safe to be used for a park.

Turning an eyesore and an environmental hazard into a park? That's my kind of project.

Rendering of the new playground coming to Northwest Community Park in Brownsburg on June 9.Northwest Community Park

Northwest Community Park, located at 7950 N. County Road 650 East in Brownsburg, opened in 2017 and offers visitors an 18-hole disc golf course, a large fishing pond, a trail, a picnic shelter and a campfire pit.

On Sunday, June 9 at 1:30 p.m., it will also feature a brand-new 11,500-square-foot playground featuring distinct areas for older and younger children while being completely fenced in with a single entrance to give parents some peace of mind while their kids play. Don't miss the grand opening at the park on June 9, and check it out for yourself!

To stay updated on developments of Northwest Community Park, follow them on Facebook by clicking here. And to learn about the experiences of my fellow blogger, Crystal Paschal, and her family at the park, click here.

Cardinal Park

Brownsburg Parks & Recreation already opened the first phase of their newest park, the 14-acre Cardinal Park. Parks are frequently built in phases, and Phase I of Cardinal Park was completed last fall with a 50-vehicle parking lot and some constructed wetlands. They also provided trail access to the B&O Trail which runs through town.

Phase II is under construction right now and will add a 2-acre dog park and a year-round restroom facility to the property.

Phase III is projected to begin in 2020 and will include an inclusive sensory playground and shelter/pavilion.

To learn more about Cardinal Park, click here.

W.S. Gibbs Memorial Park

My department, Hendricks County Parks & Recreation, has talked about building W.S. Gibbs Memorial Park in Avon for years, but last fall and this spring, we've finally made some progress on moving the construction of this park forward.

As with Cardinal Park, W.S. Gibbs Memorial Park will be built in phases. We have lined up an engineering firm and are meeting with them on the property this week to begin Phase I development of about 70 acres of the property. 

Phase I will likely include an entrance, a drive, parking, a pond, some green space and some trails. Construction of Phase I is tentatively planned for the spring of 2020.

Future phases of the park will likely include a nature playground, a disc golf course, a nature center and more amenities.

Sodalis Nature Park in Plainfield is under new management.Sodalis Nature Park

Sodalis Nature Park in Plainfield is not a new park, but it's under new ownership. This 210-acre nature park in the southeast corner of Hendricks County was operated by Hendricks County Parks & Recreation for nine years while the land was owned by the Indianapolis Airport Authority (IAA) and leased to our department.

The Town of Plainfield purchased a large parcel of land from the IAA recently that includes Sodalis Nature Park, so operations of the park were transitioned from our department to the town over the course of several months.

Features of the park include a shelter, wildlife viewing platform and fishing pier on the lake along with numerous nature trails boasting beautiful views throughout the grounds.

Plainfield's long-term vision for the land includes making it a larger regional park in hopes of educating people about endangered animal species in Indiana and the methods for protecting them, including the Indiana bat which inspired the park's name.

The park remains open, but visitors will likely see improvements being made to the property in the future.