LEEDing the Way

Labyrinth afterLeadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) is a set of guidelines for creating an environmentally sustainable project. Becoming LEED certified is tough for a building, let alone a neighborhood.

But that’s exactly what’s happening in the Mapleton-Fall Creek neighborhood on Indianapolis’s Mid-North side: They’re working to become the first LEED-certified neighborhood in Indiana.

Mapleton-Fall Creek has a rich history. It’s in a geographical sweet spot—just minutes from downtown and near some of the city’s most popular cultural attractions, including the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, the Indiana State Fairgrounds, and Broad Ripple Village. And its proximity to the urban core, along with a growing population, makes it a prime candidate for LEED certification.

“Being LEED certified is a very important goal of ours,” said Leigh Evans, CEO of the Mapleton-Fall Creek Development Corporation. “It means improving walkability, connectivity, planting trees, building parks, and addressing infrastructure at the street level. We hope the outcome will be a neighborhood that’s totally sustainable—a place where people are excited to live and work.”

In order to meet LEED’s sustainability and environmental requirements, Leigh has helped drive various initiatives that involve brownfield remediation, storm water management, erosion control, tree preservation, garbage cleanup, historic property renovation, and other infrastructure improvements.

In addition, Mapleton-Fall Creek Development Corporation has helped build four new homes, and has done 50 home rehabilitations. These include both rental and ownership opportunities.

Leigh credits LISC with being an integral factor in helping to get the dream of LEED certification off the ground. “In addition to being a funder, LISC has been an outspoken advocate of ours. They’ve helped us convene important conversations, create a quality-of-life plan, and forge critical partnerships that have kept this dream alive. They provide an ongoing platform for our neighborhood to be recognized both statewide and nationally, which has given us lots of opportunities we wouldn’t otherwise have had.”

When Mapleton-Fall Creek becomes the first neighborhood in Indiana to receive LEED certification, the whole community can take credit. “Our residents have been the vital factor in this process. It’s ongoing, and they’ve made the long-term commitment. They came together and made this happen. It’s been a very special transformation, and I’m honored I could be a part of it,” said Leigh.