Skip to main content

Goat Farm Design Public Meeting April 22, 2021

About a dozen people attended a public meeting hosted by Bloomington Parks and Recreation at the Switchyard Park Pavilion on April 22, 2021. Jeff Mader of Mader Design presented two different design concepts for passive elements to consider adding to the Goat Farm, including native garden plantings, shade pergolas, and limestone seating blocks. 

See the design concepts, presented as architectural drawings.

 

Donation to Fund Recreation Amenities at Goat Farm Property

A recent donation to the Bloomington Parks Foundation will fund the creation of a master plan for, and allow for the development of passive recreation amenities in, the city park known as the "Goat Farm".

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.

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.

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.

 

 

The Bloomington Park and Recreation Foundation (now known as the Bloomington Parks Foundation) on behalf of the City of Bloomington, accepted a donation of 31.5 acres of land known as the "Goat Farm", valued at more than $870,000, from the Sherman Rogers family on June 19, 2007.

According to the donation agreement, the deed to the Goat Farm property will be held by the Foundation, while the Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department will manage the area solely for public recreational purposes and passive green space.

The Foundation also agreed that protecting water quality in Jackson Creek, which runs through the property, will remain one of the Goat Farm's primary functions.

 

Goat Farm Prairie Project

The Bloomington Environmental Commission asked the Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department to consider creating a native prairie planting at one of its properties. A prairie that includes a diversity of plant species is beneficial to pollinators, or animals that move pollen from one part of the flower of a plant to another part. Common pollinator species include bees, hummingbirds, butterflies, spiders, flies, and wasps.

The chimney swifts using the chimney swift towers at the Goat Farm, and the bluebirds in the park's bluebird boxes, will also benefit from the increased food sources the prairie will provide. In addition, prairie plants will help strain flood debris and improve the water quality of Jackson Creek.

A mowed path around the proposed prairie, next to the Jackson Creek Trail, and around the Goat Farm barn will allow park users safe access to those places.

The planned five-acre prairie will replace the current field of fescue that is growing in the Goat Farm between Winslow Road and the Goat Farm barn. The fescue must be completely removed with a treatment of herbicide before the prairie is planted with a mixture of native grasses and wildflowers in spring 2017. The current maintenance plan calls for removal of woody plants and invasive species from the site, and for periodic mowing of the new prairie to prevent taller grasses from shading out smaller species.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Fish and Wildlife will both contribute expertise and resources toward the prairie project.