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Mayor Hogsett, Indy Parks Open New Frederick Douglass Park Family Center

INDIANAPOLIS – Mayor Joe Hogsett and Indy Parks recently opened the new Frederick Douglass Park Family Center along with a new playground and shelter next to the center. The $23 million facility, designed by METICULOUS, will provide enriching experiences for residents through its amenities and programs including two full-sized basketball courts, an indoor walking track, a large community meeting room with a stage, dance and exercise spaces, a demonstration kitchen, a podcast and technology room, a food pantry, day camps, and more.

“The renovation of this park and its facilities has been a dream of Martindale-Brightwood for decades,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “I am certain that it will have a positive, multi-generational impact on the surrounding community and our city as a whole.” 

Funding from the Lilly Endowment Grant provided $3.2 million for the new playground and the center’s new equipment and furniture. An additional $1.5 million from the Lilly Grant will make future improvements to the park‘s sports fields. That project is anticipated to begin in 2025. 

“Once a segregated park during its founding, the significant transformation of Frederick Douglass Park now stands as a beacon of hope and unity for our city as the largest facility within Indy Parks,” said Indianapolis City-County Councilor Ron Gibson. “As Councilman of District 8, I know this will have a significant impact on the quality of life in the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood and will impact many future generations.” 

The Frederick Douglass Park Family Center is the third Circle City Forward project to be completed following the opening of the Riverside Promenade in October 2023 and the renovated Krannert Park Family Center in January of 2024. The Grassy Creek Environmental Community Center and the Riverside Adventure Park are currently under construction. Indy Parks is investing a historic $141 million in new and improved park amenities thanks to funding from the $45 million Circle City Forward Initiative, the city’s $16 million American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) investment, and the $80 million Lilly Endowment grant.

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“I want to thank the Martindale Brightwood community for your decades of advocacy to bring investments into Frederick Douglass Park,” said Indy Parks Director Phyllis Boyd. “Thank you to Mayor Hogsett for delivering on the hopes and dreams of this community and thank you to the Indy Parks staff and everyone who helped make this building and the playground outside a reality, we can’t wait to provide generations of enriching experience here.” 

Opened in 1921, Frederick Douglass Park was named after abolitionist Frederick Douglass. The exterior of the new family center features images of and quotes from Frederick Douglass.

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