Construction of a new education-based park has started in downtown Upland.

NearSpace Education, the non-profit business leading the park campaign, started in 2020 to focus on the educational aspect of the satellite manufacturing industry and the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.

The renovated site is located west of the NearSpace Launch building on 79 E Railroad St. According to TenBoom LLC, the project developer, the park will feature an amphitheater, splash pad, firepit, learning center, and a small creek.

According to NearSpace Education STEM Director Brandon Pearson, NearSpace Launch is a for-profit company based in Upland and established in 2014 that works in the satellite manufacturing industry for government and commercial organizations.

Pearson went on to explain the different ways NearSpace Education has gotten involved with the youth of the community including space camps, balloon launches, a Lego League for middle school students, and a Grant County Space Club.

They even helped Eastbrook Community Schools start their own high-altitude balloon program.

Also, Taylor University students and NearSpace Launch built the first satellite from Indiana.

Referring to NearSpace Education, Pearson said, “The who story behind the purpose of NearSpace Education then is to use those skills, that equipment, that 50+ years of aerospace engineering and industry-grade STEM experiences in the classroom and put that altogether in a way that we can go now and inspire and equip a new generation of students.”

Pearson’s view of the park is that of an improved space to continue these activities as well as a contribution to the revitalization of Upland and Grant County.

“We see this open area being a space where we can go and help with Upland’s master plan they already have to revitalize and bring about change in the downtown Upland area,” he said.

Two grants were awarded to the company to begin construction of the park this summer, according to the campaign’s website.

According to information on the site, the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority will provide a matching grant if NearSpace is able to raise $30,000 in donations by the end of June.

Based on the tiers of donations listed on the campaign site, certain patrons will have the opportunity to send an item of their choice on a high-altitude balloon, sign a satellite that will be launched into near space or even assemble and launch a balloon themselves.
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