Broad Ripple Avenue
As a result of work in the Envision meetings of 2008, the Broad Ripple community determined that Broad Ripple Avenue needed an “extreme makeover.” A “Complete Street” approach was desired. Because a 2009 resurfacing project had been scheduled many years ago, the community sought ways to enhance the streetscape, to make it greener and more bicycle-, pedestrian-, and transit-friendly, if possible, while this paving work was being completed.
Although major engineering changes were not achievable with the 2009 plan, business owners and residents raised $60,000 privately in a fundraising effort led by BRVA and Midtown Indianapolis, Inc, to accomplish some enhancements to the plan. The group used a portion of the raised funds to engage Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf to design an interim “overlay plan” to add amenities to the City’s plans. Some of the remaining money was matched with federal grant dollars to be used for 2009 improvements which include Cultural Trail-style crosswalks, bike sharrows, special bike “gardens” for bike parking, benches, and planters. The remaining privately raised money will be used toward the lease of a “Green Machine” street cleaner.
Importantly, Browning Day also created schematics that illustrated what the community hopes to see over the long term. The $4 million plan includes center medians with trees, wider sidewalks, street trees, decorative lighting, street furniture, banners, relocated or buried utilities, special pavement for the option of using parallel parking spaces for pedestrians at certain times of the week, and other improvements. With the strong support of the City, the Department of Public Works has submitted this “preferred” plan for the next round of federal Transportation Enhancement Grants.
CENTRAL CANAL BANK STABILIZATION PROJECT
One of Midtown’s unique assets is the Central Canal, which not only carries drinking water for 600,000 residents, but also provides wildlife habitat and features the popular Canal Towpath recreational trail. In the Fall of 2009, Veolia, the contract operator of the City’s water assets, proposed a bank stabilization project that would have transformed this historic green infrastructure into a rock-lined eyesore. Midtown board members joined with Butler University’s Center for Urban Ecology and neighborhood leaders to successfully convince Veolia and the Department of Waterworks to modify the plans to limit the use of riprap, to specify native plants and grasses for landscaping and to protect vital turtle habitat. Construction is slated for Spring of 2010.
MIDTOWN DAY OF SERVICE
|In Spring 2008, Midtown Indianapolis, Inc, was approached by Eli Lilly and Company and Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc. Lilly generously made the decision to choose Midtown as an area of emphasis for the 2009 Lilly Global Day of Service with the understanding that Midtown would organize a team to help define and plan projects to be completed on May 20, 2009.|
Throughout 2008 and 2009, this proved to be an outstanding cooperative effort among many groups. The Midtown team included representatives from the four large neighborhood associations, residents, and some businesses. Together with KIB, Lilly, and Indy Parks, the team defined and helped plan 19 projects at schools, parks, local businesses, and community centers. It resulted in 900+ Lilly volunteers and dozens of Midtown residents and business people planting more than 500 trees and thousands of shrubs and flowers, painting parks furniture and equipment, mulching playgrounds, painting murals, landscaping along the canal in Broad Ripple, landscaping at six schools, landscaping at the Governor's Residence, landscaping at the Martin Luther King Center, and more. Following the Day of Service, the Midtown team helped to arrange and provide maintenance for the plantings throughout the summer.