Noblesville officials unveiled the creation of Riverwalk Depot, the city’s first pocket park, on Friday, Oct. 2. Using an irregular piece of vacant land, the Depot is a placemaking and beautification initiative in Downtown Noblesville.
Previously a gravel lot and a turnaround zone for utility trucks near the Duke Energy substation and Bolden’s Dry Cleaners, this 0.15-acre parcel now serves as a trailhead for the intersection of the White River Greenway and the Riverwalk.
“This pocket park will create another unique Downtown Noblesville spot and continues the overall growth of quality of life amenities to the downtown area,” Noblesville Mayor John Ditslear said.
The design of the park is to integrate art with function. Riverwalk Depot will include a walking pathway, a covered bench and two specific components to increase the functionality for cyclists, including a bicycle repair station. The centerpiece of the area is a one of a kind 9-foot tall and 12-feet long metal sculpture of a large train engine that also serves as a bicycle rack. The locomotive was designed and fabricated by lifelong resident Rick Heflin, owner of RC Metalworks in downtown Noblesville.
“I was proud to do it for Noblesville,” said Heflin. “My dream for that is for families to be able to come up to it every year and have age photos taken (annually). I’d love to see that become a tradition because the train is photogenic.”
The amenity comes at no additional cost to taxpayers. Riverwalk Depot was made possible through the generous in-kind donations from area businesses including: Sagamore Ready Mix, Duke Energy, The Duke Energy Foundation, Beaver Materials, Green Vista Landscaping, Ameri-Turf Indiana, GreenCycle of Noblesville, Lowe’s of Noblesville, CSI Signs, RC Metalworks, Hamilton County Master Gardeners and Noblesville Main Street.
The project was a collaboration of several city departments – including 319 man hours by street department employees – and led by Economic Development Specialist Alaina Shonkwiler.
“Riverwalk Depot was designed to beautify and revitalize a blighted trailhead adjacent to the Nickel Plate Railroad and a major intersection of the Noblesville Trail System,” said Shonkwiler. “The collaboration has been amazing. It was a true design and build.”
Shonkwiler said Riverwalk Depot will have two additional benches and a picnic table installed by the spring.
“This is more than I ever envisioned it to be,” she said. “I love that the public can use this space now. We can get people in here and enjoy it.”
Pictured Above: Officials and contributors to the Riverwalk Depot Pocket Park join Noblesville Mayor John Ditslear (center) and Alaina Shonkwiler (far right) in opening the city’s first pocket park on Friday, Oct. 2.