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Led by Dan McCord, the Ridgefield subdivision in Fishers has taken an iniative approach in managing their property.  In 2006, a large portion of the mowed turf grass area was converted to a nature park consisting of native warm season grasses, wildflowers, trees, and shrubs.  The Ridgefield Nature Park encompasses 6.5 acres including a 4 acre wildflower meadow.

Cost Savings

The driving force behing the creation of the Nature Park was money.  Introduced turf grass is very expensive to maintain.  The neighborhood was spending a significiant amount of funds each year just to mow and maintain the common areas.  Faced with the decision of either raising dues or finding an alternative, the neighborhood removed half of their common area from the turf grass maintenance regime. 

Immediate Cost Savings: As the Ridgefield neighborhood began their journey into converting their common area, they formed critical relationships with the Hamilton County Urban Conservation Association, Hamilton County Soil & Water Conservation District, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, and Pheasants Forever.  Due to the environmental benefits associated with native habitat, cost share funding was received from the Soil & Water Conservation District and the DNR.  In other words, the neighborhood was paid to plant the habitat.  Furthermore, Pheasants Forever owns a warm season grass no-till drill which was borrowed for planting and offers seed at drastically reduced prices.  As a result, the initial cost to the neighborhood to plant the habitat was less than the annual maintenance cost to care for the turf grass.  The project paid for itself in the first year!!

Long-Term Savings: The neighborhood has tracked costs and expenses since the creation of theNature Park.  The creation of the native habitat did include maintenance expenses associated with the weed control plan during the establishment phase of the habitat.  In addition, ongoing maintenance occurs in order to revitalize the habitat and to keep woody species at bay.  However, the ongoing costs of the habitat is far less than the alternative costs of continuing to maintain the original turf grass.  The neighborhood has also spent money throughout the years in planting new species of wildflowers in the Nature Park.  Even after the maintenance expenses and costs of adding new flowers, the neighborhood has saved $58,608 through year-end 2016!!!