City To Develop Shortz Nature Park

The City of Crawfordsville is pleased to announce the future development of a 47-acre nature park on the city’s southwest side near the intersection of SR 47 and SR 32.  Crawfordsville native Will Shortz currently owns the property, and the nature park is being made possible by his generous donation of the property to the city.  Mr. Shortz, a well-known puzzle creator and editor, is best known for his work as crossword puzzle editor for the New York Times; he grew up in Crawfordsville on the plot of land he is donating for the park. 

The park will be named the Shortz Nature Park in honor of the Shortz family and Will’s donation of the property for current and future community residents to enjoy.

The city is preparing to apply for a Land and Water Conservation Fund Grant from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to fund many of the amenities that will be a part of the new park, and grant awards will be announced in 2024.

Upon learning the status of grant funding, the City of Crawfordsville will engage the services of a professional design team, and public input will be sought as plans for the new park are developed.  Preliminary plans call for a public parking area, trails connecting to the Sugar Creek Trail, a small bridge spanning the stream that flows through the property, a sledding hill, and a small picnic area.  In addition, the park will feature a puzzle theme in honor of the work of Mr. Shortz. 

“This is an invaluable gift to this and future generations of area residents and will serve as another contribution to the overall quality of life in our community,” said Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton.  “The property is beautifully wooded and within walking distance, for most people to enjoy.  I truly appreciate Mr. Shortz’s generosity and willingness to set this land aside for the enjoyment of all,” Barton added.

Will Shortz concluded, “I’m donating the property to honor my parents, Lyle and Wilma Shortz; my sister, the late April Curtis; and my brother, Richard Shortz. I owe so much to Crawfordsville. It pleases me that the land will continue to be enjoyed by others.”

In addition to the Shortz Nature Park, the City of Crawfordsville will be simultaneously developing the Brickyard Nature Park on a 100-acre parcel of land located on the north side of the city, with funding provided by Indiana’s Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI).  The Brickyard Nature Park is scheduled to be completed by June of 2024.