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NSP Transforms Neighborhoods

Watch this video highlighting the progress and growth resulting from a $29 million investment in our community during 2009-2013. LISC was already working in neighborhoods to assist residents develop Quality of Life Plans, which set a resident-led vision and course of action necessary to revitalize their communities.  When investments from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) came into these communities, Quality of Life Plans were in place that allowed investments to quickly realize resident-drive goals. See how NSP transformed neighborhoods and people’s lives by building new housing units, creating parks and new community spaces, demolishing unsafe structures, and renovating homes into beautiful and … Continued

Neighborhood Visionary: Diane Arnold

For Diane Arnold, executive director of Hawthorne Community Center, the Hawthorne neighborhood on Indianapolis’s Near Westside isn’t just where she works—it’s where she lives. It’s where her family lives. And it’s a community she’s been working to improve for more than 40 years. Diane’s roots at the Hawthorne Community Center began with her mother accepting the position as executive director more than four decades ago. At the time, the Hawthorne Community Center was little more than an informal rec center, providing kids and families a safe place to play and congregate. Since then, Hawthorne Community Center has taken tremendous strides … Continued

Indianapolis Needs Complete Streets

Imagine an Indianapolis where walking and biking are common ways of getting to work, to school, to visit friends or to run errands. Imagine a community diversifying its transportation options and taking a significant step in creating a positive impact on public health and the environment. Unfortunately, too many areas of our city cannot support safe and convenient walking. A once-common mode of transportation has vanished from our neighborhoods. Our public health has suffered as a result. Today, nearly two-thirds of adults and 40 percent of youth inMarionCountyare overweight or obese. Working together to develop a more walker-friendly community will … Continued

Project offers a preview of vision for the East Washington Street corridor

Block will be temporarily reconfigured into a vibrant public space for people, bikes, local shops and artists (Indianapolis, Ind.) On Saturday, June 8, from noon until 5 p.m., the block of East Washington Street between Rural and Oxford will be transformed. Residents, volunteers, artists, businesses, and neighborhood organizations will change the current configuration of five traffic lanes and vacant lots into a vision of what  could be: pedestrian-friendly, tree-lined sidewalks, enhanced transit stops, outdoor dining, public seating, public art, and a mix of small commercial storefronts and businesses – even a protected cycle track. The project – Better Block Indy: East … Continued

Foundry Provisions Opens in Herron Morton

Local business owners Mark and Josh Nottingham have opened the Foundry Provisions Cafe at 16th and Alabama Streets. A long-term LISC project, the site has received brownfield funds, New Markets Tax Credits, Indy’s first SBA 504 loan, and a facade improvement grant. The cafe sources food and coffee roasted locally, supports local artists, and is a great example of community-supported business, working closely with the Herron Morton neighborhood. The opening received great coverage from NUVO and We Are City – read more here.

Neighborhood Visionary: Ken Morgan – Visionary Project: 500 Place

Ken Morgan has deep roots in Indianapolis. And an area of Indianapolis that’s particularly important to Ken is Indiana Avenue—the city’s most historically significant African-American district. It’s where he spent part of his childhood, where he was a student, minister, and lawyer, and where he first became involved in the world of community development. In the 1980s, most of the historic buildings that populated Indiana Avenue in its heyday of the ‘30s and ‘40s were gone. But one of the few remaining ones, the iconic Madame Walker Theatre, is where Ken got his first taste of community development. “The Madame … Continued

Neighborhood Visionary: Judge’s BBQ

Judge’s BBQ isn’t your average barbecue joint. But it’s not just the amazing food that sets Judge’s apart. It’s also the story of one man’s passion for barbecue, and how it helped bring hope and revival to one of Indianapolis’s most challenged neighborhoods. For Judge Smith, the desire to cook started as a young man. As one of twelve children, he learned early on that if you want to eat well in big family, you either get to dinner early or you learn to cook for yourself. Judge chose to cook. But it wasn’t until 2001, when Judge and his … Continued

Neighborhood Visionary: Phil Tom

In 1978, Phil Tom came to Indianapolis with a job to do. He had just been named the new pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church on the Near Eastside, and was excited about the opportunity. But when he arrived, he was surprised at how much the neighborhood had deteriorated. “When I first came to Westminister, there was lots of dilapidated, boarded-up housing. People were leaving the neighborhood, and it just wasn’t a great place to live. So some of us in the community took it upon ourselves to tackle the situation.” Phil and members of his church teamed up with Eastside … Continued

What’s Next for Neighborhoods: A Public Conversation on Jobs

Buckingham Companies Presents “What’s Next for Neighborhoods: A Public Conversation about Jobs” Tuesday, August 14, 5:30 to 7 p.m. Indiana Landmarks Center Cook Theater 1201 Central Avenue According to the US Census for the period between 2006 and 2010, the average jobless rate in Indianapolis’ urban core was 17% compared to 10% in Marion County. The median household income was $29,000 compared to $43,000 in the county, and the poverty rate was more than double at 27.5%. When unemployment is high, people spend less, basic needs go unmet, local businesses suffer, and crime increases. Core urban neighborhoods are usually hit … Continued

Neighborhood Visionary: Amandula Anderson

On Indianapolis’s eastside, the East Washington Street corridor that runs through historic Irvington Corridor is bustling with small businesses, artists, and young professionals—and an eclectic mix of stores, restaurants, and hip places to live. But it hasn’t always been this way. East Washington’s transformation from a run-down business district full of empty shops to a vibrant cultural epicenter didn’t happen overnight. It took a significant coordinated effort and countless hours of strategic planning and execution. And Amandula Anderson, former executive director of the Irvington Development Organization, was at the center of it all. It all started when Amandula noticed development … Continued

Neighborhood Visionary: Bill Gray

Along a delightfully diagonal street on Downtown Indy’s northeast side, seven blocks bustle with culture and life. Trees illuminated in blue, landscapes dotted with flowers, and public art installations decorate the sidewalks. Classic bars, specialty restaurants, and alluring storefronts welcome patrons from every side of town. It’s hard not to fall for the charm of Massachusetts Avenue. But this bastion of urban cool didn’t appear overnight. Just 15 years ago, Mass Ave was facing an uncertain future—until a community came together to spark the growth of what has become one of Indy’s most vital neighborhoods. And Bill Gray has been … Continued

Neighborhood Visionaries: Linton And Fern Calvert Posted on April 30, 2012 by LISC Indianapolis Staff

It was a neighborhood institution: the crown jewel of the Indianapolis theater district. Built in 1928, the Fountain Square Theatre was a 1,500-seat motion picture with a stage that hosted vaudeville acts. But by the late 1950s, the theatre had been closed and gutted. For many years, the space housed a Woolworth store, which gave way to a Value Village thrift shop. Linton and Fern Calvert didn’t care about any of that. They were only interested in bowling. “We were running the duckpin bowling alley just south of Iaria’s on College Avenue, and we needed to expand to another location. We knew … Continued