The Story of Kauffman Park

From Brownfield to Community Asset

“I like to think that the whole time that I was mayor we were focused on quality of place, quality of life…. People ask what your vision is for Goshen … I still believe that we want Goshen to be a place that you are proud to call home. If we are proud of what we have then other people will see that and want it also. So we can attract talent, we can retain talent.” – Allan J. Kauffman

A sign at the park entrance welcomes visitors and displays the timeline for the creation of the park.

Becky Hershberger and Mark Brinson discuss the redevelopment of the park

Allan J. Kauffman Park was the recipient of the Indiana Park & Recreation Association’s award for Exceptional Park Design in 2015.

The park’s features include a children’s interactive art and music play area, hill slide, lookout towers, climbing wall, open play spaces, and trails. It also has community gardens.

goshenindiana.org/city-parks

The story of the Allan J. Kauffman Park weaves together many common themes from Goshen’s history and current revitalization.  It addresses the environmental legacy of more than a century of varied industries in one property, and the coming together of a neighborhood to advocate for a better environment and quality of life.  Originally redeveloped as the Mill Street Park by LaCasa Inc. and the Goshen Parks Department, it was renamed in honor of Mayor Allan J. Kauffman to recognize his leadership in making Goshen “the best place it can be to live, raise families, work, play and retire.” *

Property Timeline

excerpts from the Kauffman Park entrance sign timeline created by the City of Goshen, and from the City of Goshen 2004-2013 Comprehensive Plan and Community Vision

[timeline-express timeline=”KauffmanPark”]

Creating A Neighborhood

The Northside Neighborhood Model

We envision a safe and aesthetic environment where ours and the larger community can share in cultural, artistic, and historical experiences and enjoy age-appropriate recreational activities. It is our goal to develop a unique, dynamic destination to provide a community gathering place by reclaiming the natural landscape and revitalizing the property.

– Northside Neighborhood Vision for the Property

Neighborhood residents planned a variety of activities to build relationships and a sense of neighborhood identity.

LaCasa’s Community Builders Leadership Training Course gives residents the skills and confidence they need to address issues in their neighborhood. Five resident leaders completed the leadership training course and helped form the Northside Neighborhood Association. The group holds monthly meetings on ongoing issues.

Neighbors had struggled with Quality Drive-Away truck traffic on their residential streets. Owner Omer Kropf moved the company, and in 2001 agreed to donate the vacant building and 10-acre parcel to the City of Goshen.

LaCasa, calling for the residents’ input, began to investigate how the property could be transformed to benefit the Northside Neighborhood.

About The Author

Phil Metzler

As the director of the Community Resilience Guild, Phil helps design and facilitate community initiatives that build relationships and navigate complexity. A passion for building community resilience and a reverence for life guide his work.

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