The Project

The Belmont Beach Project is an incremental initiative to transform the site from an overlooked and overgrown place to a vibrant community gathering space, and ultimately, into a signature community park. The project isn’t just about a place though. It’s about people, particularly the people of the Haughville neighborhood within which Belmont Beach is located. About their stories, their histories, their discoveries, and their dreams. Belmont Beach has been a part of the Haughville Community for nearly a century, and neighborhood voices helped to make sure the neighborhood wasn’t overlooked in the regional White River Vision Plan, which identified the Beach as one of its signature elements. While it will take many years of work and conversation to realize that vision, the Belmont Beach project is helping shape it by developing a model of neighborhood ownership and influence of projects proposed in the Haughville area. We hope to build on neighborhood-based organizations and initiatives like Haughville Strong, IPS School 63, Reconnecting to Our Waterway’s White River Committee, Near West Livability Task Force, and Haughville Butterfly Trails and increase community capacity to drive and respond to neighborhood changes.


The current project is a temporary project supported by a grant from the Lilly Endowment timed with the City’s Bicentennial. It includes community engagement and education, programming and events, and a temporary park-like gathering space at Belmont Beach. Temporary doesn’t mean disposable though! At the end of the project (October 2021) all materials used for the temporary park will become property of the neighborhood for use in other locations or future projects.

Elements of the project

Education and Engagement

  • Engagement of neighborhood youth to learn about, and then communicate, the story of water quality of the White River as well as the social history of Belmont Beach. This engagement is planned to include engagement of fifth-graders at IPS School 63 through teaching artists, developing content to share on the Beach site and through digital stories. The disruption of the COVID pandemic on the school may require rethinking this aspect of the project. In addition, the project is supporting local non-profit organization Code Black Indy in its efforts to establish a podcasting studio inside of Christamore House, the neighborhood community center. This work will include engagement of neighborhood youth to develop podcast stories relating to the project.
  • Engagement of neighborhood association Haughville Strong to determine the types of things appropriate for installation of the community gathering space. Again, the COVID pandemic disruptions to neighborhood meetings may require working with Haughville Strong leadership to 
  • Employment of neighborhood residents or youth for routine maintenance and cleanup of the gathering space.
  • Apprenticeship training of a resident under the Indy Convergence project management team on how a project like Belmont Beach comes together, helping to grow neighborhood capacity to engage and lead community projects.

Programming and Events

  • Opening Celebration: Indy Convergence will host an opening celebration event that kicks off the spring and summer programming at the Beach.
  • Sunday Funday: Outdoor and athletic events at the Beach for neighborhood youth led by neighborhood resident and event promoter Tedd Hardy.
  • Yoga: Black-owned wellness studio Haven Yoga will offer relaxation and “sound bath” experiences at the Beach.
  • Art: The mobile Dios De Los Muertos art gallery will bring visual art to the site, while a fountain sculpture that is part of the city-wide Art and Seek program is already installed.
  • Music and Performance: The 2021 A Rising Tide performance series by Indy Convergence will bring local bands and dance troupes to the beach.
  • Gold Panning?  On the White River?  Yes, it’s possible!  You might not strike it rich, but gold panners do frequent the White River looking for alluvial deposits of gold flakes, and gold panning equipment and training will be offered at the Beach.

Water Quality Monitoring

  • Indy’s first, real-time and open source water quality sensor will provide students at IPS School 63 and others a live understanding of the river’s health.

Pop-Up Park

The project includes a temporary, pop-up park at the site of Belmont Beach that is open May through October 2021. Built with salvaged materials by neighborhood volunteers, the pop-up park is a temporary testing ground to see what features the neighborhood would like to see in a permanent park in the future. It was designed by neighborhood residents.