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July Newsletter

Deborah Jethroe “Feels Safe” In Mapleton-Fall Creek

Deborah Jethroe’s friendly disposition and welcoming smile matched the mood of Mapleton-Fall Creek Development Corporation’s Tenant Appreciation Day on June 20 at the Ruckle Street Park. As her granddaughter played in the bounce house, Deborah enjoyed the shade provided by the shelter and spoke about her experiences with MFCDC.

“There’s been so much improvement as far as cleanup and houses being redone,” she said. “There are hardly any empty or abandoned areas. It’s great that (MFCDC) is making something of the vacant houses and lots, like these pocket parks.”

Deborah Jethroe (front right) enjoys snacks in the shelter’s shade at MFCDC’s Tenant Appreciation Day on June 20.

Deborah has rented from MFCDC for six years. About two years ago, she suffered from a stroke and was hospitalized. For several months after, she focused on regaining her health, unable to work.
“MFCDC was very supportive of me when I had my stroke,” she said. “I think highly of them. They could have not helped me out, but they did.”
She recounted how grueling physical therapy could be and how tenacious her therapists were. These days, she is glad she can enjoy nearby green space while feeling secure.
“It’s convenient for me to live right next to a pocket park to get my exercise,” she said.
“I feel safe around here.”

Joan Emmert of the InfoZone Library engages neighborhood youth at the Tenant Appreciation Day on June 20.

MFCDC’s Tenant Appreciation Day was made possible by partnerships with the InfoZone Library and Regions Bank. MFCDC’s tenants and neighbors were invited to enjoy hot dogs and fellowship at our Ruckle Street Pocket Park, while the kids jumped in bounce houses and participated in story time at the StoryWalk.

Why Support Parks?

Since 2009, MFCDC has focused its efforts in transforming the area south of 32nd Street and east of New Jersey Street in Mapleton-Fall Creek. Formerly the sight of 127 vacant and abandoned lots suffering from illegal dumping, litter, overgrowth, and neglect, MFCDC set its sights to remedy this blighted area. MFCDC worked with partners and neighbors to formulate its comprehensive redevelopment project, the 20/21 Vision Plan.

A key aspect of the 20/21 Vision Plan has been the development of community green spaces. Parks have real economic, social, and health benefits for the community. Access to green spaces enhances childhood development while providing health benefits to individuals of all ages. With this in mind, MFCDC and its partners worked together to create a park with inter-generational equipment so neighbors of all ages could enjoy the space. Additionally, parks provide a meeting place for neighbors to build relationships, creating a stronger community. On Ruckle Street, the shelter, benches, and open green space provides a perfect park for kids to play while others share experiences and socialize.
Parks also attract neighbors and businesses by creating a more desirable and beautiful neighborhood. Parks help communities thrive on all levels, from social and physical well being to attracting economic opportunities.

An Mapleton-Fall Creek neighbor, Bill Bell, and his daughter enjoy the sunshine as they play with futuristic toys brought to the Ruckle Street Pocket Park by the InfoZone Library at a recent event.

But our work is not yet finished and nothing can be done without your support. Please consider donating your time or money by purchasing NAP Credits to further develop or maintain our parks.
What are NAP Credits? By donating to MFCDC’s parks in an amount of at least $100 and indicating a purchase of a Nap Credit, the benefactor will receive a credit for 50 percent of their donation when filing their Indiana State tax return. A donation of $1,000 would cost the donor just $500. The contribution can also be used as a deduction on their Federal tax return.
For more information, click here. To donate, visit our website or give us a call at 317-923-5514!

Community Leaders, City Workers Engage Community in Town Hall

MFCDC and District 9 Councilman William “Duke” Oliver partnered to feature several community and city leaders to answer neighbors’ questions at a town hall meeting June 27 at Tabernacle Presbyterian Church.

IndyGo’s Vice President of Planning and Capital Projects Justin Stuehrenberg (left) discusses a question with District 9 Councilman William Oliver at the town hall meeting.

Representatives from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, MFCDC, Department of Business and Neighborhood Services, Department of Public Works, Department of Metropolitan Development, and IndyGo each gave a short presentation and answered questions from the audience.
Here are the key points touched on by each speaker:

Brian Roach, IMPD Police Chief
Narcotics units restructured
Chief Roach felt IMPD narcotics units were duplicating one anothers’ efforts, so they have been restructured and centralized. He said there are “no geographic boundaries with narcotics.”

Federal-level assistance
IMPD has developed a partnership with federal-level departments, including the Department of Justice in Washington D.C. These partners are providing IMPD with technical assistance.

District Community Council
Officers are currently being trained in community building. Once these trainings are complete, IMPD will host District Community Councils. In these meetings, community leaders will meet with IMPD officers to share information and develop crime plans.

Leigh Riley Evans, MFCDC Chief Executive Officer
MFCDC’s Investment Area
MFCDC has worked with its partners to invest 3.5 million dollars into Census Tract 3509, or MFCDC’s Investment Area. They have worked to convert vacant parcels into parks and new homes, attracting “droves of new homeowners,” according to Leigh Riley Evans. They have also worked with IndyGo to make sure our neighbors can easily use the new bus routes.

Charnay Pickett, Department of Business and Neighborhood Services Communications Coordinator
Sign ordinances
Charnay Pickett felt the Department of Business and Neighborhood Services needs to do a better job with communicating changes in building codes and sign ordinances. Tabernacle Presbyterian Church Reverend John Gable expressed his concerns about the citations his church has been getting about its sign since the April 4 overhaul of Marion County zoning laws. This question did not align with Pickett’s area of expertise, but she deferred to Director of the Department of Metropolitan Development Emily Mack, who had more information.

Dan Parker, Director of the Department of Public Works
Bridge construction
DPW is putting a major emphasis on bridge construction and repair to prepare the neighborhood for construction on the I-65 north split (Chicago/Columbus) in 2019. The 1-65 north split will be closed all of 2019. The Central Avenue bridge is scheduled to be reopened on September 1, 2018.

Emily Mack, Director of the Department of Metropolitan Development
Sign ordinance
For those who may have concerns with new Marion County sign ordinances, which were revised on April 4, they may apply for a variance with the Bureau of Business and Neighborhood Services or open a case with the Board of Zoning Appeals, for examples. “There are people to talk to to learn more and explore options,” Emily Mack said. Those interested may call the BNS general line at 317-327-8700.

Steps to making a new ordinance 
First, a new ordinance needs a justification. Then, after an ordinance is drafted, it must be approved by the Metropolitan Development Commission. It is then reviewed by the City-County Council, assigned to a committee, where the committee votes on whether or not to present it to the full council. If it passes the vote, it is reintroduced to the full council for a vote to pass the ordinance.

For a one-sided parking ordinance
A neighbor asked Emily Mack on how to pass an ordinance that would disallow parking on both sides of a street in her section of the neighborhood, citing safety reasons as to why this is needed. A petition needs to be passed to the neighbors affected by a one-sided parking ordinance. At least 75 percent of these neighbors must sign it for it to be considered.

Justin Stuehrenberg, IndyGo’s Vice President of Planning and Capital Projects
Marion County Transit Plan
This includes a complete restructuring of current bus routes and construction of new routes. The Red Line, which is currently in development, will travel south on College Avenue, west on 38th Street, and south on Meridian Street. Construction will begin at the end of 2017 and it will be open for service April 2019. Public meetings will begin soon for the Purple Line, which will travel east on 38th Street and south on Meridian Street. Conversations and implementation of the Blue Line, which will travel east and west on Washington Street, is further away time-wise. The Transit Plan also includes a 70-percent increase in buses on the street and will decrease waiting time for buses from 30-60 minutes to 15 minutes. New bus stops and street modifications, two-way conversions, are also parts of the plan. These new additions will all be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Also, IndyGo is developing a Red Line website with the address www.indyredline.com.

DigIndy
Citizens Energy Group’s DigIndy project includes the installation of a 28-mile long network of rock tunnels 250 feet underground as a solution to reducing combined sewer overflows. The intersection of 28th Street and Meridian Street will be closed in 2018. They are currently working on both Capital Avenue and Delaware Street. Construction of the Marion County Transit Plan as well as DigIndy will not start on Meridian until Capital is open. They are working to coincide construction to lessen the impact on commuters.

Will the Marion County Transit Plan affect BlueIndy Parking?
BlueIndy Parking will not be completely relocated, but may be shifted by a few feet.

How can IndyGo help neighbors get jobs?
With IndyGo’s expansion, they will need more workers. They are working with local organizations and EmployIndy to make sure this message goes out to communities.

 

IDA Accounts Available

Are you looking to start your own business? Or have you been thinking about going back to school? Then you may be eligible for an Individual Development Account, or IDA. The IDA is a four-year, matched-savings program designed to assist low-income individuals in achieving self-sufficiency through financial literacy and asset generation.
For every dollar you save through this program, the State of Indiana will match it with four dollars. The state will provide a maximum of $1,000 per year and $4,000 over the four-year span.
Participants can put this money towards furthering their education or enrolling in a job-training program, purchasing a vehicle, buying a home, starting a small business, or paying for essential home improvements.
To qualify, you must be an Indiana resident, employed, below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, able to save $25 a month, and able to meet minimum screening requirements.
Give Courtney Goodwyn a call at 317-800-6609 or send her an email at courtney@mfcdc.org to see if you qualify.


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