More than 60 people gathered at the red barn at the former “Goat Farm” park for the ribbon cutting and dedication of the property as Rogers Family Park on August 4, 2023. The event both formally named Rogers Family Park, and acknowledged the generosity of the Sherman and Meredith Rogers family whose contributions brought the Rogers Family Park to Life.
The Bloomington Community Park and Recreation Foundation, now known as the Bloomington Parks Foundation, on June 19, 2007 accepted a donation of 31.5 acres of land known as the “Goat Farm” from the Sherman Rogers family. The deed stipulated that the land be managed as passive greenspace for public recreation.
The Bloomington Parks Foundation deeded the Goat Farm property to the Parks and Recreation Department in 2009 and the first phase of the Jackson Creek Trail through the Goat Farm opened in October 2010.
Indiana University’s Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands conducted random surveys of park users in November 2011. Survey results showed stakeholders wanted to connect the trails around the park, and leave the park in its natural state.
The Rogers family, the Bloomington Parks Foundation, and the Parks & Recreation Department met in 2013 with Mader Design to develop a conceptual design plan for passive recreation. The IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences partnered with WonderLab, Sassafras Audubon Society, and Stone Belt to design and install three chimney swift towers at the south end of the Goat Farm in 2016.
The Goat Farm Prairie Project received a Clark Ketchum Conservation Award from the Indiana Park and Recreation Association for the conversion of a former fescue pasture at the Goat Farm into a five-acre prairie in 2016. The prairie project was made possible with grant support from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Indiana DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife.
The conceptual design plan developed in 2013 was resurrected for further review in 2020 following a significant donation of funds for the project by Sherman and Meredith Rogers.
Conceptual design plans were unveiled at a public meeting in April 2021. Following feedback from stakeholders, design plans were revised and presented at an open house in November 2021.
The Board of Park Commissioners in August 2022 approved contracts totaling nearly $754,000 to add amenities to the Goat Farm, and to protect the park’s signature red barn and white silo.
Funding for the amenities at Goat Farm Park was provided by the Sherman and Meredith Rogers family. The Rogers family not only donated the original 31.5 acres of land for the park, but contributed nearly $1 million in additional funds for the park’s design and amenities. The Rogers family wished to minimize development and maintain the park’s character as a natural space for quiet reflection.
A public art piece titled “FLEET/ing” by local artist Jonathan Racek was selected in August 2022 by the Bloomington Area Arts Commission for installation at the Goat Farm.
In 2023, the Parks and Recreation Department managed a construction project to complete the loop trail around the park and add a new paved trail through prairie, expand the native plantings, build a small shelter and pergola, and add 10 parking spots to the north end of the park.