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The Rocks to Recreation project hopes to expand Potter’s Bridge Park by more than 50 acres

Screenwriter / Christy Heitger-Ewing
Photograph provided

At the start of the pandemic, Chris Beaver (now founder of Rocks to Recreation) was driving by Potters Bridge Park and notice how many people turned to nature during such a stressful time.

Everyone wanted to get out of their house and find some peace and quiet,” says Beaver, Noblesville resident and president of Beaver Gravel. Potters Bridge Park was a popular destination to find such things.”

The problem was that the park’s original design was not built to hold the number of people who use it today. Chris thought how great it would be to add a lake, wetlands, and more trails that people could cycle or walk. Consequently, he purchased 50 acres of land and set out to collaborate on a three-part project with the Hamilton County Parks and Recreation Department to expand the park over a multi-year period, starting the Rocks to Break.

It really broke my heart that this was the right thing to do, because it would be something that generations of Hamilton County residents could enjoy,” says Chris.

The first phase of the project is the expansion of the park, which the Hamilton County Parks and Recreation Department oversees. Attached to the White River Greenway Trail Corridor, the Beavers will donate the initial 10-acre donation to the parks so they can begin expanding nature trails for walking, biking and hiking. TheyWe will also build three shelters and a new wildlife habitat. The second phase is to create a 10-12 acre lake for recreational kayaking, boating, fishing and canoeing. A jetty will also be included. The third phase is residential development.

We saw a need for housing in Hamilton County and felt we could provide a unique opportunity here by building 27 high-end, rooftop-style townhomes,” says Chris. The development will offer clean lines and a premium feel, making these properties desirable for both young professionals and those retiring.

TheyWe’ll have a nice park in their backyard to walk their dog or play with their grandkids,” says Chris. ThisIt will be a unique situation to be able to live right next to a lively park.

With the parks expansion, the eight miles of trails will allow for increased connectivity to downtown Noblesville, surrounding neighborhoods and other towns and cities in Hamilton County.

Currently, Beavers and Hamilton County Parks are in the process of applying for a government use overlay. That way the park service can have it when they’re done digging the ground. A presentation to the Noblesville Planning Commission took place in May, and there will be a city council vote on the project at the end of June.

After the zoning process, they will remove the sand and gravel. As soon as the gravel pit is complete, the developer can start the townhouses. The park would be built simultaneously. By giving Hamilton County Parks the acres of wooded area, the 30-acre expansion can begin immediately. After five years, the Beavers will donate the rest of the land to Hamilton County Parks. By then the lake will be finished, the ground work will be done, the grasses will grow and the first trails and waterholes will be finished. The park service itself would own it and have full control of what happens in the future. According to Chris, Hamilton County Parks Commissioners and Councilors are excited about the expansion project.

From rocks to recreation“They know in their hearts that it will be a staple for future generations,” he says.

Still, Chris, his daughter Ali, and the team at Beaver Gravel have done their due diligence to reassure anyone who might have concerns about the Rocks to Recreation project.

The main concerns of residents revolve around water. Therefore, Beaver Gravel engaged Interra to perform a thorough water quality and quantity analysis. Their report showed that there would be minimal risk of operations affecting water quality or quantity, with proper monitoring. For more context, water wells were installed along the River Road area by Westfield in 1986. Westfield’s demand for water increased so more wells were added in 1992. In 2007 , they purchased land from the Beaver family to add a major well field on the dyke between beaver operations on the White River to help rapidly recharge the aquifer. Currently, there are 17 major water wells along River Road, many of which are adjacent to existing gravel wells. drives. All of these wells were put in place decades after the beavers began operations in 1949.

“That should suggest there is no concern for quality or quantity because the water is safe today,” Ali says. “We’ve done water studies, ecological studies, wildlife studies, and impact studies that look at long-term land values. We have provided facts to the public regarding any concerns they may have.

“I think people forget that we are citizens of Hamilton County,” adds Chris. “It is not in our business plan to jeopardize the community of which we are a part. It’s a beautiful park now. We’re just going to make it 10 times better.

Potter’s Bridge Park is located at 19401 North Allisonville Road in Noblesville. For more information, call 317-770-4400 or visit rockstorec.org.