We are spoiled living in Fishers. Let’s face it, how many other towns in the country can boast of awards that include Top 100 Best Places to Live in America (Money), the number one slot among Top Ten Cities for Families in U.S. (The Learning Channel), and Forbes’ ranking of Fishers as 11th Best Place to Move?  Ask your friends and neighbors why they love living in Fishers and you will collect a laundry list of reasons.  Topping my list are the green spaces that have been developed into parks for the community to enjoy.  So, when I heard about the new “pocket park” open in downtown Fishers, I had to learn more.

What is a pocket park?  A pocket park is a small amount of land in an urban environment that has been undeveloped or underused that is transformed into a public gathering space.  Pocket parks are designed to provide space to sit, relax, and enjoy nature within the city.  Because these parks are small in size, they are a perfect fit in every type of neighborhood.  They do not offer playground equipment or programmed activities, thus they are considerably less expensive than their larger counterparts.

The first pocket park in our community is located next to Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream at 116th St and Maple. You aren’t mistaken – this location is where the old blue house used to stand in downtown Fishers.  The 4,000 square foot lot has been transformed into an environmentally friendly park featuring bike racks, seating, and various options for local art to be displayed.  The park offers a great meeting place for family and friends to gather while exploring all that the Nickel Place District has to offer.

Jonny Glaros, Manager of Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream at 8760 E. 116th St, is excited about the new park.  “I think it could help a lot of local businesses.  Since there are limited parking and seating options at our location, this park will give our patrons another place to go to sit and enjoy their ice cream!”

Best of What’s Around owner, Danie Leever, shared the same enthusiasm about the park’s opening.  “Each week I gain clients just from people walking around the town area either to concerts, to have ice cream, the farmer’s market or just for fresh air,” Leever said. “They’ll say they’ve driven past my shop five hundred times since I opened in February but only just now noticed it when they got out and walked and slowed down their hectic daily pace. Allowing people to take a break from rushing here and there can only increase my business.”

Best of What’s Around opened earlier this year at 8745 116th St, and offers vintage-inspired home decor, gifts, and one-of-a-kind art by local artists.  The location of the new pocket park is a perfect spot for more people to discover this local gem.  Leever believes, “It’s a great start to the revitalization of the downtown area and I’m super blessed to be right in the middle of it all with my shop!” The Fishers Dept. of Community Development is working with the Arts Council, and the Fishers Cultural Tourism Group to create a public art plan.  The pocket park will showcase both temporary and public art projects.

The park was created to provide a space for residents and visitors to enjoy while visiting downtown shops, to relax before or after taking in an event at the Nickel Plate District Amphitheater, or while walking or biking around town. The Downtown 2030 Master Plan marks this pocket park location for future redevelopment, and the current developers planned accordingly.  The majority of the materials used in the park, including the pavers, slating, and fence, can be reused and transferred to other parks.

The next time you are downtown, come over to the new pocket park to sit down, take a break, and enjoy this innovative green space in our award-winning community. To learn more about the Nickel Plate District, and the awards given to Fishers visit  www.fishers.in.us. Get the scoop on Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream at www.handelsicecream.com/indy.  Find store hours to plan your next shopping trip to Best of What’s Around at www.bestofwhatsaroundshop.com.

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