Amber Lane is director of the Brownsburg Parks and Recreation department. (Photos by Amy Payne)

Park Person – Amber Lane

Amber Lane has been working with the Brownsburg Parks and Recreation department for eight years. She was hired as an administrative services manager, received several promotions, and eventually spent two years as assistant director.

Last summer amid some changes in the parks department, Lane was named director, and she’s excited to see the future of Brownsburg Parks as it continues to develop.

Lane is no stranger to working within communities.

Before joining the department she majored in anthropology, and in a study of an Indianapolis neighborhood, got the chance to see how a community center benefitted the local residents.

As the director of an early childhood education program, Lane was able to work with families and create events that provided education and a ton of fun.

Those experiences have prompted her desire to make park amenities and programs the best they can be for the Brownsburg community.

The parks department is a fairly small crew, but they get a lot done every day.

“Virgil Park has just come online and we’ll be celebrating the grand opening on May 1,” Lane said. “Stevens Park came on in 2021, so we have five developed properties right now and two undeveloped properties. I hope to focus on Lincolnwood Park to be our next developed property.”

Perhaps one of the more fun parts of the job is developing something from the ground up, and Lane said it’s important to be good stewards of the existing parks as well.

“This year we’ll be doing a lot of aesthetic and functionality updates at Williams Park,” Lane said. “We’ll be working with a firm to redesign and re-engineer some of the mechanical components of the splash pad. One of our big projects at Arbuckle Park includes taking down split-rail fencing to align better with the White Lick Creek Greenway Trail. For me, it’s all about staying consistent across all parks.”

Brownsburg Parks + Rec

In addition, Lane hopes to advance their work in ADA accessibility and improvements as they upgrade at each existing park.

“I do park walk-throughs every week and I’m still astounded by the amount of work our team puts in,” Lane said. “They are so passionate about it, and it’s great to spend funds on the new, shiny things, but also important to dedicate efforts toward our existing infrastructure.”

She hasn’t forgotten about trails and greenways.

“If you look at the past 23 years of surveys, trails are really important to this community and always score highly,” she said. “It’s the most accessible amenity we can have for everyone and a lot of our park developments have a trail component to them.”

Future expansions are planned for a stretch on the B&O Trail from Green Street to Ronald Reagan Parkway, and another at the White Lick Creek Trail, north of Interstate 74.

Lane is coming in at a great time, just as the team is working on their five-year master plan, and she said it’s not something they put on a shelf to collect dust. It keeps the staff on task by setting goals and making sure everything is up to par at each park.

That’s important when you consider the massive community events the department puts on each year.

“Our events have really exploded,” Lane said. “I think after the pandemic, people really wanted to get back together. People don’t think about things like the farmers market, but we’re planning that now. Not only is it accessible to our vendors and the community but we’re doing themed nights like kids day, an artisan market night, musical talents and other events. It’s a weekly place for Brownsburg to be.”

During the summer months, the Movies in the Park program on Friday evenings is popular, and the summer concert series also brings out crowds.

Each year, some events are what Lane calls “all hands on deck” for the team.

The Fourth of July Extravaganza, in partnership with the Brownsburg Lion’s Club, Blues in the ‘Burg, and Christmas Under the Stars not only give the community a great place to celebrate, but also bring economic benefits to the town.

“Last year was one of our most successful years with Blues in the ‘Burg,” Lane said. “The community really responded to that, and it doesn’t just bring in the Brownsburg community, but really all over central Indiana.”

Another special day to add to the list this year is the solar eclipse event on April 8. “Not only are we partnering with Lucas Oil and Visit Hendricks County for this popular event, but in all of our parks we’re expecting people to come out to watch the eclipse.”

Every step of the way, it’s truly a team effort.

Lane said volunteers are crucial to the department’s success. For example, the Father-Daughter Dance event welcomes 400 people each night and is run primarily with help from the Lions Club, Key Club, National Honor Society and others.

“A lot of this couldn’t be done without our dedicated volunteers, and it takes every member of our team working together to have success,” Lane said. “We have so many highly educated professionals with different backgrounds – people who are certified in playground safety, arborists, and aquatic facility operators.”

Every event requires a partnership with the Brownsburg Police and Fire departments to keep the community safe, and there’s seasonal help in the form of camp counselors to internships.

“It’s so great that the community is involved in this way,” Lane said.

Last summer, the Brownsburg Parks board was dissolved and management was placed under the Brownsburg Town Council.

Lane reports to Town Manager Deb Cook, and shares an update on park development and programs with the council each month – a partnership she values.

When Lane took over as director, she said many of the tasks didn’t surprise her. She was trained well and was handed a program in good shape, but she’s been able to lean on a stellar administration team, from the Town Council to the other department leaders.

“It was really about picking up the torch and carrying it forward,” Lane said. “I’m so appreciative of the support I get from the town administration and department heads. We have some great leaders in the Town of Brownsburg, and they’re knowledgeable and helpful. I’m so proud of our parks department and the work the team does every day.”

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