Stemming from the belief that beautiful and pedestrian-friendly spaces create healthier, happier, and more equitable cities, the Broad Ripple RiverWalk Task Force seeks to create a missing link that will connect multiple neighborhoods, signature parks, and cultural landmarks to each other and to Indianapolis as a whole.
For more than 30 years, plans produced by the City of Indianapolis have articulated the community’s desire to strengthen the connection between Broad Ripple Park and the Village. The 2012 Envision Broad Ripple Plan recommends: “Connect Broad Ripple Park, Broad Ripple Village, and the Monon Trail with an off-street bike and pedestrian trail.”
The construction of the RiverWalk is set to begin early 2022. The RiverWalk will be a 12-foot-wide pathway composed of a concrete aggregate, featuring benches, landscaping and other amenities. All the land to be used for the project sits in the public right-of-way.
The city of Indianapolis and the Broad Ripple Village Association expect to spend a combined $1.2 million on the RiverWalk project, which will run along the north side of Broad Ripple Avenue between the street’s intersection with the Monon Trail and the entrance to the park—roughly the six blocks between 1000 and 1600 Broad Ripple Avenue.
The RiverWalk is being financed through a 2018 matching grant awarded by the Department of Public Works, with the city and BRVA equally sharing the cost. The price tag is expected to be around $1.2 million once a winning bid for the work is chosen. So far, BRVA has raised $510,000 for its side of the match, with plans to continue fundraising through 2021.
BRVA also plans to raise an additional $200,000 for lighting and benches along the trail, with those efforts expected to run into early 2022.
The project is expected to feature at least two river overlooks, as well as—potentially—a Broad Ripple High School “walk of fame,” featuring prominent graduates.
Construction of the initial RiverWalk project will run concurrently with a massive reworking of Broad Ripple Avenue between North College and Primrose avenues, which is scheduled to begin next summer.
Broad Ripple Avenue will receive new sewage infrastructure, traffic signals and at least one intersection realignment at Compton Street.
The initial cost of the RiverWalk was expected to be around $1.5 million, but incorporating the trail with DPW’s other project reduced costs, BRVA officials said.
For the length of the RiverWalk, bicycle lanes that run along either side of Broad Ripple Avenue will be removed. The trail will be separated from the avenue by a 5-foot buffer.
The RiverWalk and avenue construction projects are expected to be put out for bid separately in November 2021, with “construction starting in early 2022 and completion by the end of next year,” a DPW spokesperson said. The winning bidder will be expected to complete both projects.
A small portion of the trail has already been completed, with developer Zinkan & Barker incorporating the trail into its apartment development called The Ripple that was completed in 2019 at 1430 Broad Ripple Ave. The work was done in consultation with BRVA and DPW to avoid extensive demolition in front of the property.
Other financial assistance has been donated by businesses such as Keystone Corp., Flanner Buchanan funeral homes, the BRICS ice cream shop and Avenue Development, which is developing the new family center at Broad Ripple Park.