On March 3rd, Meg was an invited presenter and panelist in a dialogue with local and national leaders regarding the value of urban parks and greenspace in maintaining a world-class city. The event was the 2017 Richard M. Fairbanks Symposium on Civic Leadership at the University of Indianapolis.
The day started with an INconversation between Justin Garrett Moore and Neelay Bhatt. Justin is a product of Indianapolis' Arlington High, an urban designer and the current executive director of the New York City Public Design Commission. Neelay is the vice president of PROS Consulting and a Board Member of the National Recreation and Parks Association.
A panel discussion next explored Five Big Ideas that transformed Indianapolis: The 1907 Kessler Park and Boulevard System, White River State Park, Indy Greenways, The Cultural Trail, and the Clean City Initiative, the precursor to Keep Indianapolis Beautiful. Indy Parks Director, Linda Broadfoot moderated the panel composed of Meg Storrow, FASLA, Andre T. Denman, Indy Parks principal park planner and greenways manager, Brian Payne, Central Indiana Community Foundation president and CEO, Alex Umlauf, operations and events manager of White River State Park, and David Wantz, executive vice president and interim provost at the University of Indianapolis.
A discussion about What's Next on the national and regional scene followed. David Forsell, President of Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, moderated a discussion between Dale Heydlauff, President of the American Electric Power Foundation, Lionel Bradford, President of The Greening of Detroit, and Emily Wood, Director of Greenspace at Keep Indianapolis Beautiful.
Former Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard concluded the day with insightful reflections about the importance of open space to a successful and thriving community. He noted that the most common query from national organizations considering establishing a presence here centered on the amenities that they consider crucial to attraction and retention of skilled and talented employees who can choose where they work.
Want to learn more? Click the links above to view what these folks and their organizations are doing, and of course view Meg's symposium presentation: The Indianapolis Park and Boulevard System: a Continuing Transformational Legacy. And especially view the University of Indianapolis Institute for Civic Leadership & Mayoral Archives for an overview of its important work towards preserving and understanding how progressive initiatives of the past inform the present in visualizing and actualizing better futures.
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