Base Realignment & Closure
Post Head Quarters
Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana
Located in Lawrence, Indiana, Fort Harrison officially closed in 1996 as part of the 1991 BRAC round. The base spanned 2,400 acres in Marion County, Indiana and contained numerous buildings while employing 1,050 civilian employees.
Redevelopment efforts for Fort Harrison began in 1994 and initially focused on recreational themes. Following the 1994 submission of the Fort Harrison Reuse Plan to the U.S. Army, the city of Lawrence established the Fort Harrison Reuse Authority (FHRA) in 1995, and the first deed transfers occurred in October 1996. The Fort Harrison State Park was dedicated in October 1996, which produced an immediate success story, as it has preserved 1,700 acres of contiguous forest only 11 miles from downtown Indianapolis, including the former base’s 18-hole golf course, and has attracted business and housing developments nearby. The recreational theme continues as the FHRA has leased the former post’s physical fitness center to Greater Indianapolis YMCA, has assisted with the development of a world-class youth soccer complex that combines existing parkland within the city of Lawrence, and has planned a network of multi-use pathways throughout the site.
Integration of new construction with Fort Harrison’s historic structures proved to be another key factor in the base’s redevelopment. Because the city of Lawrence essentially grew up around Fort Harrison over the course of the 20th century, the base closure presented a unique opportunity for the city of Lawrence to establish a true “downtown” district and to create balanced, interconnected neighborhoods. Several of the historic structures were converted for residential use as well various commercial facilities.
Capitalizing on the presence of over 75 historically significant brick buildings dating to 1908, beautiful terrain, including 1,700 acres of largely undisturbed rolling hills and woodlands, and a sense of “atmosphere,” the Fort Harrison Reuse Plan focused on mixed-use development.
The former base and its facilities have been transformed into several buildings and highly used places, including market rate housing, senior housing, a community college campus, industrial and commercial sites, recreational facilities, and Fort Harrison State Park, which includes an 18-hole golf course.
Total property sales have exceeded $16 million, and over one million square feet of new residential and commercial construction have been completed or are under construction, and approximately 1.25 million square feet of historic structures have been renovated. Additionally, by October 2003, workforce and redevelopment efforts at Fort Harrison have replaced 112 percent of the original jobs eliminated in the 1996 base closure.