Browning Day Partners with Parks Groups to Re-Design Indy Park

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Browning Day Partners with Parks Groups to Re-Design Indy Park

As we continue to celebrate our 50th year, Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf is honored to have the opportunity to give back to our community by leading the design of the Sandorf Park revitalization project.

In 2017, Browning Day was selected by the Indianapolis Parks Foundation and IndyParks to re-design Sandorf Park as part of the 2018 National Recreation and Parks Association’s (NRPA) Parks Build Community program; a key component of the 2018 NRPA National Congress, which will bring between 7,000-10,000 parks professionals to Indianapolis this fall.

The Parks Build Community program is a national initiative demonstrating the transformative value of parks on the health and vitality of communities across America. Each year, NRPA partners with a local community to undertake a complete park makeover and partners with park equipment manufacturers and community organizations within the city hosting the NRPA Annual Conference.

The Sandorf Park project was formally announced on Thursday, during the 2018 IPL Mayor’s Lunch for Parks. The event gathers around 700 corporate, community, and civic leaders in a park-like setting and is the premier fundraising event for the Indianapolis Parks Foundation.

This park build is a comprehensive renovation of an existing, four-acre neighborhood park located in the southeast area of Indianapolis. Sandorf, while loved by residents, is in need of substantial updating. The surrounding neighborhood has a comparably high percentage of children in low-income households and will benefit substantially from this much-needed investment.

In addition to meeting the day-to-day recreation needs of nearby residents, the design of this park also seeks to help further the programs and mission of Indianapolis Public School SUPER (Students Understanding through Powerful and Energetic Routines) School 19, which shares the southern boundary of the park space. This K-8 public school has a diverse study body and embraces a curriculum that combines learning with physical fitness activities. As such, the incorporation of multiple opportunities within the park space for various types of fitness and exercise activities, will benefit both the students and the surrounding community.

There will be a series of “firsts” at Sandorf Park including the first youth zip line, a pump track, and a Cosmos Freegame Court. It will have amenities such as a youth challenge course, multiple large play structures, a nature-play area, adult outdoor fitness area, music plaza, and outdoor fitness lawn. The park will focus on universal accessibility and will include a musical sensory plaza and play equipment designed specifically for children on the autism spectrum.


In total, almost $2 million-worth of equipment and in-kind services have been donated to the Sanforf Park revitalization project. The goal of the parks foundation is that Indianapolis will be the first city in the history of the Parks Build Community program to be completely “free.”

Once the park renovations have been completed, a grand unveiling will be a kickoff to the NRPA National Conference on Sept. 23 where thousands are expected to attend. The conference is a 3-day event from Sept. 25-27 and will be filled with lively networking activities, inspirational sessions, and a look at the most innovative products in the field. Hope to see you there!  Remember; it starts in parks!

About the Author – Ryan P. Cambridge, PLA ASLA APA, is a practicing registered landscape architect who serves as the planning practice leader at Browning Day; a multi-disciplinary planning and design firm in Indianapolis ( Since 2008, Ryan has helped lead the development of more than 15 parks system planning efforts for municipal governments across the United States, representing nearly $750 million in future “public realm” investment. Ryan is a self-professed “parks geek” and seeks to further the awareness of, and investment in, the public realm though his leadership on the Board of Directors for the Indiana Parks and Recreation Association, the Advocacy Committee of the Indianapolis Parks Foundation (Ryan was also the event chair for the 2017 IPL Mayor’s Lunch for Parks), and the Programming Committee for the Indiana Chapter of the Urban Land Institute. Ryan is also privileged to be one of only a handful of professionals in Indiana currently serving on the Project for Public Spaces Placemaking Leadership Council (

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