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Another “One of a KIND” land initiative announced at IND

New collaboration gives more airport land back to the community

INDIANAPOLIS -- Imagine taking your family on a hike through a new premiere nature park in central Indiana. That vision could come to life in the wake of a new collaboration between the Indianapolis Airport Authority (IAA) and the Hendricks County Park Board. The IAA board of directors, today, approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work toward a plan to transfer maintenance of nearly 2,000 acres of conservation land owned by the IAA to Hendricks County Parks and Recreation and to eventually sell a portion of the land to the organization as well.

“This is a new day for the Indianapolis Airport Authority (IAA),” said Mario Rodriguez, IAA executive director. “The IAA and our board members are excited to take yet another major step in returning land, at the Indianapolis International Airport, to our community. We no longer need the land for aviation use and since we believe that this is our community’s airport, this is a great way to serve Central Indiana.”

As part of the MOU, the IAA and Hendricks County Park Board will meet regularly to collaborate and develop a plan for maintenance and the future use of the land. The Hendricks County Park Board has also approved the MOU.

The land includes protected wetland areas that provide critical habitat for the endangered Indiana bat plus many other species of animal and plant life. The land also includes Sodalis Nature Park, which opened in 2011. Sodalis currently offers trails, picnic areas and a 5.5- acre pond for public use. Hendricks County officials see this agreement as an opportunity to create an even better opportunity for residents to enjoy this natural environment.

"This is an amazing opportunity with the potential to create a public park unlike any in the nation, on land already set aside for the protection of an endangered species,” said William Roche, superintendent for Hendricks County Parks. “If realized, this future park will serve as an outstanding resource for our community. And, the willingness of the IAA to work with the Park Board, county elected officials, and other partners to help create a community asset on this land really speaks to the caliber of their organization. They have been wonderful partners."

“We are following through on the promise we made a year ago to give airport land back to our community,” says Al Bennett, a representative of Hendricks County on the IAA Board. “This is a wonderful collaboration with the Park Board and I can already envision the joy of families exploring this beautiful, natural resource, in a park setting, and creating memories they won’t forget.”

The IAA is creating “One of a KIND” initiatives at IND as one of only a few airports in the nation returning airport land, no longer needed for aviation, to the community. The Hendricks County MOU is one of several land use initiatives in development at IND. The IAA is putting approximately 3200 total acres of airport land back into productive or recreational use by divesting, selling or leasing some of the land.

About the Indianapolis Airport Authority

The Indianapolis Airport Authority owns and operates Indiana’s largest airport system. In addition to the Indianapolis International Airport, its facilities include the Downtown Heliport, Eagle Creek Airpark, Hendricks County Airport, Indianapolis Regional Airport and Metropolitan Airport. IND has received numerous prestigious awards recognizing it as a leader within its class, including best airport in North America in 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014 in Airports Council International’s annual Airport Service Quality awards. It has also been inducted into the ACI Director General’s Roll of Excellence, one of the few U.S. airports to be included in this elite group of worldwide airports. IND is the first airport in the U.S. to win LEED® certification for an entire terminal campus. LEED is a green-building award for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. IND has won additional recognition for excellent customer service, concessions programs, and art and architecture.

IND generates an annual economic impact in Central Indiana of more than $4.5 billion without relying on state or local taxes to fund its operations. About 10,000 people work at the airport each day. IND serves more than 7 million business and leisure travelers each year and averages 140 daily flights, seasonally and year-round, to 41 nonstop destinations. Home of the world's second-largest FedEx Express operation and the nation’s eighth-largest cargo facility, IND is committed to becoming the airport system of choice for both passenger and cargo service. For more information, visit IND’s Facebook page at Indianapolis International Airport and Twitter page at @INDairport.