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Lawrence Parks: A Green Space for Everybody

One of the crowning jewels of Lawrence, Indiana, a suburb of Indiana state capital Indianapolis, is its massive parks system. Run by the Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department, Lawrence parks are well kept, beautiful Lawrence attractions that showcase the beauty and majesty of the Central Indiana countryside. Each Lawrence park has its own special allure and its own list of amenities and facilities. Fantastic places to exercise, bring Lawrence children, or simply take a hike, Lawrence parks are a valuable part of Lawrence’s Pioneering Healthy Communities initiative, a plan designed to improve Lawrence health for all residents.

Though not technically part of the Lawrence parks system, Fort Harrison State Park is the largest park in the Lawrence area and is the primary Lawrence attraction. This Indiana park covers 1,700 acres of gorgeous woodland, open green spaces, lakes, waterways, expansive vistas, hiking, biking, and walking trails, and other amenities. Picnic tables, shelter houses, and more make Fort Harrison State Park a great place to visit. A former Army base, Fort Harrison State Park was founded in 1908 as Fort Benjamin Harrison. Though it no longer serves as an Army base, the site was converted to the Lawrence park it is today in 1991. Fort Harrison State Park is also the home of the Fort Golf Course, a professional 18-hole golf course set in the middle of the park.

Video montage of the sights and sounds of Fort Harrison State Park in Lawrence, Indiana

 

Outside of Fort Harrison State Park, there are eleven city-run Lawrence parks spanning almost 300 acres: Alexander Park, Explorer Park, Lawrence Community Park, the Lawrence Soccer Complex, Lee Road Park, Louis J. Jenn Park, Oaklandon Play Park, Soccer Park, Veterans Memorial Park, and Waggin’ Tails Bark Park, an Indianapolis bark park. Many of these are smaller community parks, but each has its own distinct flavor. Veterans Memorial Park has a large memorial to fallen soldiers of the United States, Oaklandon Play Park has a great playground for Lawrence children, and the other parks feature picnicking areas, walking trails, shelter houses, fishing areas, and other amenities.

Lawrence Community Park is a major landmark in Lawrence. This park is where many Lawrence events take place, including the Lawrence 4th Fest and Lawrence Community Day, both of which are huge Lawrence attractions crammed with Lawrence businesses, Lawrence arts, and Lawrence restaurants. Lawrence Community Park is located just south of Fort Harrison State Park and is a center of the whole community. Here, avid fans of Lawrence sports can find a variety of arenas, including tennis courts, baseball diamonds, soccer fields, volleyball courts, and more. A number classes, crafts, and activities for residents are also offered on the grounds of Lawrence Community Park.

But if you really want to see what Lawrence parks are all about, you need to check out the Lawrence Soccer Complex, a massive shrine to all that’s great about the world’s favorite sport. Spanning 21 fields and with enough parking for over 1,000 rabid fans, the Lawrence Soccer Complex is nothing but a spectacle. The complex is home to three soccer teams of Indianapolis high schools: Bishop Chatard High School, Lawrence Central High School, and Cathedral High School. Other Indianapolis schools come to play at this Indianapolis sports field as well, and it is also home to many tournaments, championships, and Indianapolis events, including the Indiana State Cup. The Lawrence Soccer Complex is a huge asset to the Lawrence parks system.

Video of the 2009 Indiana State Cup soccer match held at the Lawrence Soccer Complex in Lawrence, Indiana

Speaking of sports, the Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department also hosts a number of youth and adult leagues. These leagues foster the spirit of teamwork, competition, and hard work in Lawrence children and allow for some edge of your seat action. There are three baseball leagues in Lawrence, one basketball league, one football league, a soccer league, and a tennis league; if you’d like to play a sport in Lawrence, there’s probably a league for you. Youth sports are a valuable part of the Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department.

Lawrence parks are one of the main attractions to this small town. These parks, in addition to the hard-earned track record of Lawrence schools, are one of the main reasons that people come to live and work in Lawrence. Fort Harrison State Park is a nationally recognized landmark that’s one of the classic things to do in Lawrence. The eleven community parks each offer a different type of recreation for participants, from the peaceful walking trails at Alexander Park to the vibrantly colored playground at Oaklandon Play Park. Lawrence Community Park acts as a center for community events and activities, while the Lawrence Soccer Complex brings white knuckle high school sports action to the sleepy Indianapolis suburb. Lawrence parks are the crown jewel of the east side of Indianapolis.

Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department
8950 Otis Ave
Lawrence, IN 46216
317.545.PARK
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-Bryan Johnson

Mike Woods