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How Noblesville included years of history in their new park

NOBLESVILLE, Ind (WISH) - Noblesville's new park may look modern, but it's filled with plenty of the city's past.

On Saturday, the city will cut Federal Hill Commons' ribbon. The $6 million, 6.5-acre park transformed the west side lot.

"Oh, it's totally different," Brittany Leakey said. "This was just land, and now kids can come play."

Soon, they'll be able to do more than play. The park will hold concerts, plays, and a farmers market.

"We spent about a year and a half in design, and then about a year and half in construction," Noblesville Parks and Recreation Assistant Director Mike Hoffmeister said.

What makes this park so unique? You may not realize the steps you take, or places you sit, are made up of Noblesville's past. Years of hidden history found in plain sight.

Limestones line the east side of the park -- it's rock that comes from a century-old mill that was torn down a little more than a year ago.

"It's usable as well," Hoffmeister said. "It's a bench, and it can be used for whatever we want. We wanted to preserve the history of the community."

The other piece of history is harder to find. It's beneath Federal Hill Commons' parking lot.

Under the asphalt are parts of Conner Elementary, a school local historians say served the community for more than 50 years.

"We want to become modern and hip and accommodate all of our population, but we understand that history is important in Noblesville," Hoffmeister said.

That history's a feature Leakey, a local mom, is glad to see because she knows life is about more than just conquering the jungle gym.

"Let her learn that old stuff can be made into new stuff and made into something beautiful," Leakey said.

The city is also turning the mill's beams into tables. The fire department is building the centerpieces and should be complete soon.

Federal Hill Commons will open Saturday night at 6 p.m., with inflatables, face paint and fireworks at 10 p.m.

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