On 10/11/12, thousands of volunteers will storm the city to make a difference along our waterways. Led by Eli Lilly Corporation in partnership with Ivy Tech Community College, Fall Creek in the Regional Center will be transformed in one day. The projects—designed by Schmidt Associates—connect three elements: 1) the mission of Ivy Tech Community College, 2) the purpose of the day for Eli Lilly employees, and 3) the intent of Reconnecting Our Waterways.

Throughout the day, invasive plant species will be removed and academic spaces will be installed to create a Science Corridor—encompassing Fall Creek between Meridian Street and Senate Avenue—for students and neighbors to use and learn. The spaces developed in Schmidt Associates’ plan include a countertop lab space, a labyrinth, birdhouses, seating, hanging invasive wall art, and (on campus) a culinary garden with shade structure. These projects will be constructed in one day and will be ready for the current academic season.

Partnership. Next month, the results of this intricate web of partnerships will be on display. Three innovators—Eli Lilly Corporation/Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Ivy Tech Community College, and Schmidt Associates—reached out to others to collaborate in the above initiative. Other collaborators include: Central Indiana Land Trust, Indy Parks, Indianapolis Department of Public Works, neighborhood groups, and many others. All of these organizations have a different mission, but they are coming together to create a dynamic opportunity for volunteers on the Day of Service—a day that will have a significant impact on the aesthetic of Fall Creek.

These one-day projects will lay the groundwork for the long-term master plan. The landscape architecture team at Schmidt Associates also created a diverse, native planting design as the next step to support and connect the academic places along the Science Corridor. The plants selected will serve as an educational tool for Ivy Tech and K-12 natural and environmental science students, culinary students, and art students. They will also serve a critical role in filtering the Fall Creek waters, restoring soil integrity, and providing a healthy/natural environment for urban wildlife. All involved are anticipating the installation of these plants for the fall of 2013 Lilly Day of Service in order to capture a healthy growing season.

The Fall Creek Science Corridor is a great example of anchor institutions playing a significant role in our urban places. What is being done and what will be done will enhance the environment and the connectivity to the creek for the entire community. When Schmidt Associates began brainstorming for this project, the key elements of Reconnecting Our Waterways (ROW) were front and center—aesthetics, ecology, connectivity, education, economics, and well-being. With the design complete, these elements will be front and center while the partners and volunteers implement the plan.