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Zionsville advances plans to buy former golf course, create nature preserve

ZIONSVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — Zionsville town leaders on Monday night authorized a bond to acquire a former golf course and turn it into a nature preserve.

A tweet said the Zionsville Town Council voted 6-1 for a bond up to $5.5 million to acquire the former Wolf Run Golf Club and turn it into Carpenter Nature Preserve. It’s along Eagle Creek southwest of the intersection of U.S. 421 and State Road 32.

Development plans include a nature center, walking trails, boardwalks, a playground, outdoor classrooms, an overlook on Eagle Creek, and enhanced wetlands, woodlands and prairies.

Jim and Nancy Carpenter purchased the 200-plus acres in 2021 and have worked with the town on the project. The Carpenters agreed to sell the land for $4.52 million; it was appraised at $6.02 million.

The couple founded Wild Birds Unlimited, a retail store that specializes in bird seed and feeders, in the early 1980s. They have lived in Zionsville since 1987.

Taxes and grants would fund the project.

A Zionsville home valued at $700,000 would pay an estimated $51 per year for the bond, the town’s website says. A public hearing on the project was conducted in February, and the council invited input during its April meeting.

In addition, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources will give the town grants totaling $7.5 million to help acquire the land, plus develop the site, remove invasive species, stabilize banks and erosion along Eagle Creek, and maintain those improvements for 10 years.

Zionsville touts nearly 32,000 residents, and was one of Indiana’s top 20 fastest-growing communities in 2021 based on population estimates from STATS Indiana.