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The 33-acre Goat Farm property was donated to the Bloomington Parks Foundation by the Sherman Rogers family in 2007. The Parks Foundation deeded the property to the Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department in 2009. Provisions in the property's deed indicate the only allowable "development" of the park is for public recreation and publicly accessible greenspace. The deed also stipulates that the Parks and Recreation Department use best management practices to maintain the protective vegetation on the banks of Jackson Creek, which runs along the east edge of the property.
"The beautiful piece of farmland the Rogers family donated in 2007 will become even more inviting, thanks to their continued generosity," said Mayor John Hamilton. "Our residents and visitors will greatly benefit from the Rogers' contribution to our shared greenspace, which provides a much-needed refuge, important connectivity for our trail system, and an opportunity for responsible stewardship of our natural areas."
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Representatives from the Rogers family, the Parks Foundation and the Parks and Recreation Department met in 2013 with Mader Design, a Beech Grove, Ind.-based design firm, to develop a conceptual design plan for passive recreation at the Goat Farm. The design, which included a picnic shelter, native tree and prairie plantings, and park benches along with an expanded, paved trail, was resurrected for further review in 2020 following a significant donation of funds for the project by Sherman and Meredith Rogers to the Bloomington Parks Foundation.
Paula McDevitt, Administrator of the Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department, said, "We are overwhelmed by the generosity and foresight of Bloomington citizens who see the value in parks as places for quiet reflection and serene visits. We look forward to continuing conversations both with the Rogers family, and with the park's neighbors, to ensure the Rogers family legacy is both welcome and preserved."
The deed also calls for the park to be renamed "Rogers Family Park."
The Board of Park Commissioners will, at their Jan. 26, 2021 meeting, review a proposed contract with Mader Design to finalize the park design plans. For a period of time following the receipt of the draft design plan, the Parks and Recreation Department will host public open houses to present the design, and will solicit feedback from Bloomington residents regarding the design and elements.
For more information about the Rogers Family Park Master Plan, or about the donation of the Goat Farm property, contact Paula McDevitt at 812.349.3700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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