Editor's note: The news desk received the following press release from Central Indiana Land Trust at 10:32 a.m. on Jan. 16:
Record gift to Land Trust preserves property valued at $4.3 million
Indiana bat population could soar on land near Indianapolis International Airport
Real estate development firm Holladay Properties has donated 50 acres of land valued at $4.3 million from within its AmeriPlex complex in southwest Marion County to the to the Central Indiana Land Trust to be enhanced and maintained as a nature preserve.
The Land Trust will protect the land forever, open it to the public, and manage it to encourage the proliferation of native plants and animals, including Indiana bats, which have been spotted near the area and are an endangered species, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The 50 acres are located on the southwest side of Ameriplex Parkway, adjacent to approximately $100 million of commercial and industrial projects that have been developed in recent years.
"This is one of the most valuable gifts of land to a land trust in Indiana's history," said Cliff Chapman, interim director of the Central Indiana Land Trust. "It's not only the economic value of the land, it's the fact that one of our region's most endangered species proliferates in the surrounding area."
Chapman added that the Land Trust will enhance the area with plantings of native trees and shrubs, as well as other restoration work that will encourage Indiana bats and other wildlife to use the property. To support these efforts, Holladay also is donating $125,000 for a stewardship fund.
"On behalf of all of the employees of Holladay Properties in Indiana and elsewhere, we are pleased to continue our commitment to environmentally sensitive development," said Chris Wilkes, partner with Holladay Properties. "All three of our major business parks in Indiana - including AmeriPlex here - are designated as 'wildlife friendly' habitats by the Indiana Wildlife Federation (IWF), and on that point, we would like to acknowledge Barbara Simpson and the IWF for their role in facilitating the dialogue and donation to the Land Trust.
Wilkes continued, "This donation is especially important because it is not only to be enjoyed by residents of Decatur Township and the 7,000 employees of the AmeriPlex business park, but it's another link in the larger preservation program in Marion and Hendricks counties to preserve habitat for endangered species and 'quiet enjoyment' by people seeking natural areas in an otherwise urbanized environment. We are pleased that the land will be preserved forever and enhanced in its natural state by the Land Trust."
The land, which will be named at a later time, is adjacent to property that the Airport Authority owns and is already restoring and managing land for Indiana bats, which prefer hardwood forest with some dead standing trees, and stream corridors and edges to forage for insects.
The Land Trust plans to provide public access with parking and trails in the future.
About Holladay Properties South Bend-based Holladay Properties was found in 1952. It is a privately held, full-service commercial real estate company owned by 10 active partners.
About the Central Indiana Land Trust Founded in 1990, the Central Indiana Land Trust is a local, independent nonprofit conservation organization that secures land and development rights to ensure that natural areas are conserved forever. It has worked with willing landowners to protect more than 4,000 acres.