Indy Eleven fans can expect to enjoy games in the new stadium by summer of 2025. The comprehensive planning process is well underway, and Indy Eleven will continue to meet with fans, supporters, stakeholders, and the overall community regarding optimal fan experience elements to be included in the final design.
The Indianapolis Zoo will open a new entry on Memorial Day Weekend that reshapes a Zoo visit with a total immersion into nature from the very first steps inside the Zoo; it’s a whole new welcome, announced the news release.
“You never know who you will see leading you into White River Gardens,” revealed a human Zoo representative when I showed up for the media event on May 23 . “At the Zoo’s new entry, guests will meet ambassador animals like an aardvark, macaw, sloth, snake, tortoise – you never know who you will see!”
I was part of the May 23 media day, when people were busily preparing signage and sprucing up the new immersive outdoor gardens leading us to immersive indoor experiences.
More excitement surrounding the White River was in my inbox when I got home; “Indy Eleven & Keystone Group today unveiled renderings and announced May 2023 groundbreaking plans for Eleven Park, the transformational neighborhood development [is] set to change the southwest quadrant of downtown Indianapolis.”
A 20,000-seat multipurpose stadium as the new permanent home of Indy Eleven and its affiliated teams will be rising up at the site of the long-time Chain Link Company.
“The development will also include over 600 apartments; 205,000 square feet of office space; over 197,000 square feet for retail space and restaurants; a hotel; public plazas with green space; and public parking garages,” announced the news release.
“The vision of this transformational development into a live, work, and play village is becoming reality. Eleven Park will not only change the skyline of Indianapolis, but will add over a thousand jobs, have a huge economic impact, create quality of life benefits and attract talent and opportunities to our city and state,” said Ersal Ozdemir, Chairman and Founder of Keystone Group & Indy Eleven. “We’ve been investing in downtown for over 20 years and believe it is more important now than ever. Our goal for Eleven Park is to continue the city’s tradition of using sports as a business driver for Indiana by increasing Indianapolis’ profile as a global city and showcasing the world’s most popular sport.”
Alongside Indy Eleven’s international sports identity, Zoo leadership is positioning Indianapolis as a global leader to create a natural world where every growing thing thrives. Each initiative brings us into active participation with a global community with roots in our backyards and play spaces just outside our doors.
We make our own value is the message I am processing from the live encounter at the Indianapolis Zoo and from reading the Eleven Park initiatives. Lingering along the pathway to the Hilbert Butterfly Conservatory opened opportunities to linger and discover on our own, visit with people who were newly planting, and refresh what was already in place. Scott Sullivan chatted about the “Creative Gardens,” a fairytale lure to make discoveries. What’s the pattern of the evergreens, the meaning of the annuals? What’s the whimsy behind the sculptures? Who figured out how to turn slabs of limestone into water fountains that our free-flying ordinary birds use as perches and refreshment stopovers? Beckoning benches under an arbor reminded us to bring a book next time and sit a spell.
We noted comparisons between the Sun Garden and the adjacent Shade Garden; we lingered at the Gathering Garden but spent real quality time at the Sunken Garden with its visiting tortoise chomping on the fallen petals of the lone perennial—a peony bush. That led us to suggest a link with the gardener volunteers at the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, where an abundant peony garden features 26 species of heritage 1800s peony rhizomes to coincide with the story of the Harrison site. What era of peonies should ring this Zoo space with its creative gathering of weathered, fallen tree limbs and its long-lived resident tortoise? The Roman Pliny called peonies the oldest of plants, while plant historians cite they have been grown in Asian gardens for thousands of years. Since longevity is a tortoise trait, it seemed they should be in a space together. That settled in our minds, we caught up with a gardener who was developing what I call a kitchen garden.
“It’s an example of what you can plant in a small, sunny, well-irrigated space,” offered the gardener, who had ringed the plot with marigolds as a defense against chipmunks, squirrels, and other marauding four-leggeds. A chicken wire fence for added protection pushed us to ask what, in truth, is needed to stave off birds who like to poke their beaks into a just ripening tomato, rendering it uneatable. Wry laughter ensued as others joined us to ponder the conundrum.
The cutting garden was underway, too, with a mix of textures, colors, and shapes for summer-long bouquets. A Discovery Garden, planted and tended by members of the Herb Society, lured us with its pungency. We learned about what best fits next to each other. My reporter notepad became a sketchbook. By observation, I surmised Mediterranean herbs, such as lavender, oregano, marjoram, rosemary, sage, and thyme, do well together. And the so-called “damp” types, such as basil, cilantro, tarragon, and parsley, make for another grouping.
“Get off the computer and get into the garden,” echoed around us as we headed toward the Butterfly Sanctuary, verdant with plants from every climate grouping. Our presence didn’t bother the activity fluttering all around us. We learned about their cycles, their needs, and what we can do to assist in a world where dangers are increasing. That was an effective segue into the Global Center for Species Survival and Indianapolis Prize Hall of Fame. We’re face-to-face with photographer Joel Sartore’s enchanting images and video created for the National Geographic PhotoArk.
“The Indianapolis Zoo’s Global Center for Species Survival is a partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Species Survival Commission. The Global Center staff supports and connects thousands of conservation experts working to secure a future for animals, fungi, and plants in more than 160 countries,” cites the news release.
Learn the ongoing story here: https://www.indianapoliszoo.com/prize/
“It all began as a question: What can we do that will really make a difference in saving the lives of endangered and threatened animals all over the world?”
The Indianapolis Prize, since 2006, approaches the issue of animal conservation in a whole new way by inviting each of us to make a difference at home on an everyday small scale. We learned how we are saviors vs. exploiters. Who doesn’t want to be a hometown hero? The motivation is real.
I made a note: ‘Learn more about who is doing what to teach, to protect, to lead, and share their dedication as an ongoing series to inspire others.’ Sporadically nuvo.net has spotlighted, but would an immersive series have a more enduring impact on our wellbeing? Do I need to be connecting the disparate organizations who ask me to report on what they are doing so that a greater impact can happen in a combined unity? I’ve now got Kelly Griese’s card at hand to make the introductions with the legion of others.
But, there’s a larger call to global action and that is why Sergio Henriques is hunkered over his computer when we move into what used to be the gift shop space from which we took home keepsakes and now is a transformational space for gifting our larger world.
Pablo Borboroglu, founder of the Global Penguin Society, is the ninth winner of the globally renowned Indianapolis Prize for animal conservation.
Learn about all the winners and their ongoing work here: https://www.indianapoliszoo.com/prize/conservation-heroes/
On our way out we’re beneath what looks like a rendering of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel breathtaking painting, except that this here & now moment is a call to survive extinction, not a glorification of our coming into being. It’s a sobering moment of craning our necks to be face to face with everything that we can wipe out of existence. Something hits me; is the ability to build a system of 360° technology part of the reason we’re in distress?
Our last stop is to view the emergent International Chimpanzee Complex, which is expected to open a year from now. It’s an impressive building with a climbing tower that reminds me of the media platform at the site of the Indy 500. We chat about what is significant about being able to visit a site that brings the world of nature to us. It’s too expansive to grasp in one visit. We have to return.
“Our spectacular new welcome experience provides guests with inspiration and enjoyment while highlighting the Zoo’s efforts to save species locally, nationally and internationally.” offers Dr. Rob Shumaker, President & CEO of the Indianapolis Zoo.
Indeed, it does
Guests and members are urged to purchase tickets ahead of time online to receive the best price. This provides an immersive and enjoyable entry to the Zoo without stopping down to purchase a ticket. The Zoo is now cashless but will convert cash to a debit card at no fee for guests.
By visiting zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, guests are contributing to the efforts to save species worldwide. Visitors help make possible the field conservation, research, and habitat restoration for many conservation programs supported by the Zoo. To learn more, go to IndianapolisZoo.com.
The Indianapolis Zoo protects nature and inspires people to care for our world. Located in White River State Park downtown, the Indianapolis Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the American Alliance of Museums as a zoo, aquarium, and botanical garden. Visit IndianapolisZoo.com .
At home, I contemplate the message from Ersal Ozdemir, Chairman and Founder of Keystone Group & Indy Eleven.
“The vision of this transformational development into a live, work, and play village is becoming a reality. Eleven Park will not only change the skyline of Indianapolis but will add over a thousand jobs, have a huge economic impact, create a quality of life benefits and attract talent and opportunities to our city and state. .. Our goal for Eleven Park is to continue the city’s tradition of using sports as a business driver for Indiana by increasing Indianapolis’ profile as a global city and showcasing the world’s most popular sport.”
Eleven Park will introduce several amazing amenities, including a large public plaza and green spaces with features such as an outdoor stage with free concerts, kids play zone, outdoor activities, water features, a dog park, and public art to name a few. The public plaza will offer access to many community events, farmer’s markets, and more, activating the village year-round. The development will create a village and provide a great experience to those working at or attending events from the new Elanco Headquarters campus, Eli Lilly Global Headquarters, White River State Park, Lucas Oil Stadium, Victory Field, and the Indiana Convention Center, and I’m adding The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indian and Western Art. Its entry in the original Encyclopedia of Indianapolis names it “the cornerstone of a cultural complex” within the White River State Park
I am mindful today, and every day, that I walk around and reside at the place that was home to our Original People before they were removed to unfamiliar places.
Cover image courtesy of Indy Eleven.
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