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Residents partner with IU Health in the Northwest Area to create Charlie Wiggins Park

  More than 1600 IU Health employees and over 100 residents working together have transformed a vacant strip of land in the North West Area into the new Charlie Wiggins Park. Located near west 29th and I-65, the park’s colorful tire hill connects to its namesake—Charlie Wiggins was a race car driver who lived in Indianapolis in the 1920’s.  Still in the midst of their Quality of Life planning, the North West Area seized an opportunity to connect IU Health to a local priority for improved green spaces. Together they have made positive change happen in this neighborhood.  For more … Continued

Centered on Success

Vince “Hoosier” first came to the Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center—long a partner with LISC in delivering much-need community services in West Indianapolis—at the start of 2011 after being laid off due to the economic downturn. He had been referred to the center by a friend, who suggested he enroll in a computer-training course with the hope of learning new skills that would help him get a job. “My first impression of the Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center was a really good one,” said Vince. “Everybody wanted to help me by any means they could. They wanted to hear my goals and … Continued

A Congress for the People

If you haven’t been to Indy’s Southeast side lately, you might be surprised by what you see: beautiful new homes, rehabilitated properties, rebuilt infrastructure, and commercial vitality. All the recent improvements make it a pretty exciting time to live in this part of town. But you might not know that much of the progress being made is due to the Southeast Neighborhood Congress, whose members represent the needs and desires of the community—not the government or big business. “The Southeast Neighborhood Congress represents 14 different neighborhoods that are in close proximity,” said Angie Calvert, Southeast Neighborhood Congress secretary. “We give … Continued

Brighter Kids. Brighter Future.

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is the biggest and best children’s museum in the world. That much is pretty indisputable. It’s so much fun that it often takes some effort to remember that Children’s Museum experiences are also educational. Good thing the folks at the museum never forget. It’s why the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis has recently expanded its out-of-school-time programs in an effort to reach as many neighborhood kids as possible. “We’ve had out-of-school-time programs at the Children’s Museum for two decades,” said Anthony Bridgeman, director of community initiatives at the Children’s Museum. “Programs like our Starpoint Summer Camp … Continued

Lofty Goals. Serious Results.

The Irvington neighborhood on Indianapolis’s east side has undergone a major transformation over the last decade. While the neighborhood hasn’t experienced the steep population decline of some other urban neighborhoods, it has struggled with maintaining a healthy, thriving business culture. So to bring business back to Irvington, members of the Irvington Development Organization (IDO) Board decided to play to their strengths. “Housing has been relatively stable in Irvington—we have many beautiful, historic, and well-maintained properties—but we had started to suffer from commercial neglect and disinvestment,” said Margaret Banning, director of the Irvington Development Organization Board. “We wanted this neighborhood to … Continued

One Hot Tamale!

For many years, the East Washington Street corridor was a place most people didn’t want to visit. Crime was high, buildings were dilapidated, and infrastructure was crumbling. But all that’s changing, thanks to a dedicated, involved group of local citizens. And a microcosm of this change has been a little restaurant located along this historic corridor. It’s called Tlaolli (tlah-OH-lee)—and this tamale restaurant-that-could is a perfect example of the type of change people living in and around East Washington Street want to see. “Tlaolli is an ancient Nahuatl word for corn,” said Tlaolli found Carlos Hutchinson. “It was probably the … Continued

LEEDing the Way

Leadership 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 … Continued

2014 FOCUS Facade Application Due May 30th

If you know of a small business in Indianapolis/Marion County doing great work and looking to improve their storefront, this is a great opportunity. The City of Indianapolis and Local Initiatives Support Corporation’s Commercial Façade Rebate Program offers reimbursement grants for business and property owners who engage in visible improvements to the front of their property. This is a rebate program where business and property owners receive reimbursement for up to 50% of the cost of the project, in amounts ranging from $1,000 to $20,000 for completed work. The program also develops relationships between local businesses and their area non-profit … Continued

Northeast Quality of Life Plan Unveiled

The Unveiling Event of the Northeast Corridor Quality of Life Plan was a great success! There were over 260 stakeholders, politicians and neighbors present to learn about action goals towards improving mass transit, implementing grocery stores, developing access to healthcare, and more. With the support of LISC, the Northeast Corridor Quality of Life plan was developed from the grassroots level over the past 16 months and powered by 928 people and 87 organizations who were involved in the planning process. Guided by Amandula Anderson, executive director United Northeast Community Development Corporation, and Ben Harris, a community builder with the King … Continued

The Working Poor Should Be Better Off

“The working poor should be better off than the non-working poor.” So says my good friend and tireless champion for the dispossessed, Gregg Keesling, who runs a very successful social enterprise employing ex-offenders here in Indianapolis. It’s a theme that resonates across the network of LISC-sponsored Financial Opportunity Centers (known as Centers for Working Families in Indianapolis). There’s much rhetoric about why the poor stay poor, but the FOCs are seeing people every day who work for living but seem to get nowhere. It’s a complicated dynamic – partly behavioral but mostly about lack of assets – social capital, educational attainment, … Continued

Northeast Corridor Quality-of-Life Unveiling Event

All are invited to the Northeast Corridor Quality-of-Life Unveiling on March 27 at 4:00 pm at 3908 Meadows Drive.  For more information and to register for the event please go to: NE Corridor Community Unveiling Invite.  LISC has supported this plan that covers the neighborhoods of King Park, Martindale-Brightwood, United Northeast and Millersville at Fall Creek Valley. For more information on the NE Corridor process, please visit www.necorridor.com.  As Erika Smith reports in the Star, ”What could the Meadows look like? Imagine boulevards for bicycles and buildings designed around mass transit, the mode of transportation that many residents use. Imagine a grocery store … Continued

2013 Program Activity Totals $16 Million

The LISC Story: In Their Own Words from Well Done Marketing on Vimeo. Indianapolis LISC emphasizes comprehensive community development to transform neighborhoods into great places to live, work, do business, and raise families. Check out the video above on LISC’s comprehensive community development strategy. Last year, Indianapolis LISC invested $16,399,297 in grants, contracts, loans, and equity in 2013 to support comprehensive urban redevelopment projects and programs. This is approximately a 22% increase over the 2012 investment. The increase is due to a strong focus by LISC to grow its loan and equity portfolio – which was up 32% over 2012 levels. LISC approved … Continued

Your Input Needed on Development Projects

Help LISC identify financing and technical assistance needs for development projects in 2014 by taking this brief 9 question survey HERE. Estimated time to complete this survey is 3 minutes. These projects include single or multi-family housing, facilities (childcare, charter school, recreation healthcare), and commercial or small business development. Thank you for helping LISC identify the development needs in Indy! We look forward to hearing from you.

Rental Development in Our Urban Core

LISC convened a roundtable of developers and lenders last October to engage local real estate experts and the City of Indianapolis in a discussion about how rental housing development could be improved and encouraged in core neighborhoods. A summary of this discussion can be found here. These discussions identified specific challenges and opportunities in accessing project financing and public subsidy, as well as improved collaboration around a range of issues including securing commercial tenants, acceptance of density, transit investment, environmental remediation, and land assembly. The meeting was facilitated by the Indiana Association of Community Economic Development and sponsored by Huntington … Continued

NYT Magazine Highlights LISC’s Twin Accounts Program

The New York Times Magazine highlights LISC’s Twin Accounts program in the article: “How Credit Card Debt Helps the Poor.” Without access to credit, low-income working families face limited economic opportunity. Landlords, employers, and insurance companies look at credit scores as part of their decision making process. Individuals with low credit scores lack access to quality rentals, are unqualified for certain jobs, and are required to pay deposits for utilities. The LISC supported Centers for Working Families work with people to get jobs, reduce debt, and build savings. One of its most important services is helping people gain access to … Continued