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Maple Crossing: A Great Place

Midtown Indy is the convening organization of Maple Crossing, an Indianapolis Great Places 2020. The goal of Great Places is to transform neglected Indianapolis neighborhoods into dynamic urban centers of commerce and community.

Maple Crossing is one of the first places to engage in this effort and was selected for its potential, diverse residents, unique assets, and location within a number of active neighborhoods. Maple Crossing is a place with great momentum. And many stakeholders are collaborating to expand and sustain that momentum into the coming years.

Indianapolis must compete, now more than ever, with surrounding counties and peer cities to attract and retain residents, businesses, and investment. Young people are particularly drawn to cities that have a thriving culture and dynamic urban places. Everyone’s quality of life is better when they live in an economically healthy city.

According to the Project for Public Spaces, a vital city must have a number of great places to be a community where people choose to live, work and play. People want opportunities to take pleasure in public life. Indianapolis has some great places to be sure: Fountain Square, Irvington, Broad Ripple, Downtown, and others. But, we need to be more proactive in growing these places as we continue to compete both regionally and nationally.

Great Places 2020 is a program created to respond to this need. The effort seeks to transform strategic places in Marion County into dynamic urban villages. These places already have great assets and potential, but they also have challenges that this process hopes to assist with. Philanthropic, civic, and private partners will engage with neighborhoods to make significant social and capital investments to enhance quality of life and spur private investment.

Faces of Maple Crossing

Special thanks to residents of Maple Crossing, and to the Harrison Center and Bill Rasdell for the use of these images.

Learn more about Maple Crossing and Great Places 2020

The Maple Crossing Area

Several neighborhoods and one historic district comprise Maple Crossing.

Crown Hill Neighborhood: The neighborhood is named for Crown Hill, the steepest hill in Indianapolis, and is home to Crown Hill Cemetery.

Butler-Tarkington Neighorhood: The neighborhood is named for Butler University, as well as acclaimed author Booth Tarkington, who lived in the area.

Mapleton-Fall Creek Neighborhood: The neighborhood was named for Mapleton Village and Fall Creek.

Meridian Kessler Neighborhood: The neighborhood was named for Meridian Street and Kessler Boulevard.

North Meridian Street Historic District : This district is made up of large, stately homes.

Key Initiative: A More Walkable 38th Street

The Maple Crossing long-range plan indicates making 38th Street more pedestrian friendly with widened sidewalks and other improvements, including street trees and a multi-use path.

This is an aggressive concept as 38th Street carries a very high volume of auto traffic. It is currently a roadway that does not welcome pedestrians, with its four lanes of traffic, extremely narrow sidewalks, and lack of trees and other landscaping. However, the community was clear that they desire pedestrian friendly development along 38th Street.

We hope to see a vision, similar to that pictured here, become a reality.

Investments in the Maple Crossing Great Place are organized into four outcome categories. Each is listed below with the organizations leading the initiatives.

Livability: Healthy and beautiful (Mapleton Fall Creek Development Corporation)

Opportunity: Entrepreneurs and jobs (Midtown Indy)

Vitality: Growing population (Near North Development Corporation)

Education: Lifelong learning
(MLK Community Center and Children’s Museum of Indianapolis)

More about Maple Crossing

In many ways, Maple Crossing serves as a bridge. It’s a bridge between downtown and the north side. It’s a bridge between above and below 38th Street. And it’s a bridge to four unique and historic neighborhoods in Indianapolis. Maple Crossing is special in that way; it’s a connection hub.

At the center of that hub is an 84-year-old building named Concord. Situated at the northwest corner of 38th and Illinois, a 10,000 square-foot building has been the talk of the neighborhood all year. The Concord was once home to a cigar shop, a drug store, an ice cream shop, a restaurant and “a place to buy Cherry Coke’s for 10 cents,” according to one long-time resident. The building was once a place that residents loved, cared for and patronized. Most of the building has now been closed for more than two decades leaving the space forgotten and in need of restoration.

Midtown Indy acquired the building in 2016 to return The Concord back to the people it used to serve – its neighbors. Since then, a series of listening sessions have been organized to find out what the community needs and wants to see happen in the space. The key future uses of the space are common: a gathering space, a work and training space, a place interested in the arts, food and a place for retail incubation. Midtown Indy works to do as the building’s name suggests – bring concord and harmony back to a historic building that services its neighborhood – an effort that is catalytic to the vision for Maple Crossing. Other efforts in Maple Crossing included economic development with small businesses such as Happy Brewing, programming at Tarkington Park, and beautification of the entire half mile square.

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Maple Crossing

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