This past Saturday, my wife, son and I left the house early for a client meeting. We had hoped to be able to beat the heat that weather forecasters were predicting and make it to the Broad Ripple Farmer's Market before the full frontal assault of the mid July sun hit us. This however, was not to be. We made it out of our meeting around 11:30 but decided to still make the short trek through the village up to the high school and visit the market.
What we found, were many like minded folks! It was a crowded event taking place. We did our best to navigate the stroller through the crowd and ended up with ribs, potatos, watermellon and apples. All locally grown. All eaten by us this weekend.
If you get a chance, make a trip out and support local sources. Its economical, and healthy.
A couple whom I would consider good friends have started a small community garden on the east side of Indianapolis. They live in a house and own the neighboring lot as well where a house once stood.
In it's place, a small community garden is taking shape, as well as a gathering space for other members of the neighborhood. Allen and Kristin Bunch maintain the property along with a number of folks living "on mission" with them. The concept took hold last summer as a group of 11 of us attended Guatemala on a week long trip with Indy Metro Church. What resulted, was a strong will to affect positive change.
The "Tux Community Garden" while small, still serves a purpose for the right reasons, helping people out. Allen told me that they will be showing some movies on a projecter screen this year. They have already shown Honey I Shrunk The Kids previously. The aim is to help bring the people of the neighborhood together in a positive fashion.
Last night I had the opportunity to attend my neighborhood association's quarterly meeting. I was able to inquire about the property I previously highlighted titled, "How to Improve Abandoned Lots". To recap, the property located at the corner of 46th & Ralston Ave in midtown Indy, has been abandoned for AT LEAST 2 years, which is as long as I have lived in the area. Ive seen no shift. There was a representative of the city there who reported that the owner of the property, a church, has plans to demo the existing structure located there. What will happen next, is anybody's guess. The owner of the property, a preacher, said that they did not have enough money to finish the project that they started.
In our meeting, we discussed the possibility of rehabilitating the property but since it is owned by a church, the city cannot sieze it in a tax sale. So it will be interesting to see how this property evolves over the next year. A few of us in the meeting advocated for a community garden but that was met with the response that we would need to form a non-profit of some sort to arrange proper upkeep of the property, and that the neighborhood association would likely need to take on the payment of property taxes and such. This is unlikely to occur since the association is strictly volunteer, and gets no assistance from the city in terms of financial donations.
This weekend, I set up a home composting unit next to my house. I live in a neighborhood with a lot of shade trees and this place, right along the driveway, gets the most sun of a day. It also happens to be positioned right next to our recycle bin, and garbage can making for a pretty neat arrangement.
If some of you locals read the Broad Ripple Gazette, my wife wrote about this a few weeks back. her sister and brother in law got me the composter for my birthday and she wrote, "I've never seen someone so happy to get a composter as a gift." She was right, I am pretty excited to get this thing going. I have already mixed some items in there, so it should be interesting to see how it takes off. This is part of my ongoing dedication to reusing or recycling as much as possible in our house hold.
Ive known about this project for quite some time but had not made it out to see (or regretfully, to help construct) them. My wife curates the artspace located at the Anthenaeum so we were down on Mass Ave this past Friday. I was looking forward to the opportunity to be able to walk around the new rain gardens fronting Michigan Street. What I found, was another KIB project near completion and in what appears to be a real area that it can help. The Anthenaeum, KIB (Keep Indianapolis Beautiful) and the Indianapolis Office of Sustainability partnered to create this new green infrastructure that they say will reduce the amount of stormwater runoff pollution by 30%. Knowing the area around it, there are parking lots, wide sidewalks and plenty of area for rain water to be cleansed. So in that regard, this project should deliver.
I am by no means an expert, but I have read how these sorts of structures should be located further away from the foundations of buildings. This one is constructed right up against the building. However, KIB has been at this for a while, so I hope that they know what they are doing, and a project 5 years from now isn't taking place to shore up the foundation.
The project isn't complete however. I ran into one of the workers who was cleaning up and he informed me that there is still a bikerack to be installed, and I believe some benches. So these photos don't illustrate the finished product.
They do however, demonstrate the community will to be progressive in helping to curb the stormwater runoff issues that plague all modern cities. If more of these projects took place, perhaps we wouldn't be looking down the barrel of another long term and expensive public works project to seperate our storm and sewer utilities. By that, I mean to make light of the Deep Tunnel project that is on the que to be started soon.
For more information about this project, click here.
For more information about the Deep Tunnel project, click here.
In what could be termed as a strange confluence of events, I bring to you the topic of today's post: Indy Pedicabs. Located in Indianapolis' Fountain Square Cultural District, they operate 4 bicycles that can best be called a rickshaw with a crank and chain. I really have to thank my wife for turning me on to this. You see, she writes the arts column for our neighborhood newspaper, The Broad Ripple Gazette. We had just finished up visiting an opening at the Domont Gallery and I asked if we could take a spin through the Fountain Square area to see the new Fountain. I hadn't seen it yet.
On our way down Virginia Ave, she spotted this strange looking bike sitting on the curb outside of Anthony's Dugout (odd occurance #1). We pulled over and I approached the would be owners of the bike who happened to be non other than Nick Crist, purveyor of Indy Pedicabs. Ironically, he shares the same last name as my wife's maiden name however they do not know each other. (strange occurance #2)
I asked Nick a host of questions and was lucky enough to pin him down to answer a few questions concerning his business, and the evolving state of bike and pedestrian improvements going on around the downtown Indianapolis area; an area that his business aims to serve. The following are items that won't be found on their website.
Q: You mentioned that you have 4 bikes. Do you employ a number of people to ride the other bikes? If so, is it an on call type of arrangement?
A: We have 4 bikes presently. I ride whenever I can; which is often but with the others we lease to qualified drivers. We lease the bikes on a daily and weekly basis. Each potential driver has to get a permit, must be 18 or older, and have a valid driver's license. Its a first come first serve for the lease of all bikes.
Q: You also mentioned a service like this in Houston, TX where they have 40 bikes. I was wondering if you had more details on that which I could reference.
A: Travis Stowers is the owener of Space City Cabs in Houston; he has helped me with our process.
Q: You were excited about the circle being closed to traffic this August. Do you have a stance on the matter?
A: I am excited about the closing in August of the circle. I have often thought that the space is not used to its potential. My family and I live downtown and enjoy walking or riding to the circle; but with all the traffic and the noise it' hard to enjoy just sitting and people watching.
Q: Do you operate as a to-the-door service only or do you regularly schedule time to cruise around downtown to increase your visibility?
A: We do both; if you make a reservation with us via phone or web we will pick you up at your door. We also will have cabs out during the day and evening for regualr taxi service.
Q: How do you think the opening of the Cultural Trail in Fountain Square will impact your business and the neighborhood?
A: The cultural trail is having a huge impact everywhere. One unique thing about our city is everything is close and the trail just pulls everything together and gives us a path to follow. Fountain Square is an imprtant part of Indianapolis and the downtown area; the trail will just enhance the area and hopefully bring more people to our area. We are going to start a delivery business with pedal power. Anything from groceries, food delivery, etc... I'm drawing up plans right now to build a pedal pick up and hopefully use it for my neighborhood for recycling.
I find that individuals such as Nick help make Indianapolis a better place to be. Through pedestrian & green improvement efforts I feel like everyday I am turned onto a new innitiative to bring Indianapolis to the forefront of the movement to improve the built environment for people, and not cars. Which brings me to odd occurance #3 that would be a new collegue walking by, Michael Bricker of P.U.P. We all sat and chatted for a few moments and laughed about how funny it was that we all managed to come together but it proved to be a pretty fun meeting. I hope to run into Nick and his crew from Indy Pedicabs around town this summer. Make sure to check them out if you get the chance and want something a bit different from a taxi, or horse carriage ride downtown.
Those of you who frequent this site may be able to read between the lines enough to know that I have been working with P.U.P. (People for Urban Progress) a lot lately. Maryanne and Micahel have a good thing going with a record of success. However, as any non-profit knows, funding is a huge component to dealing with any project. Recently, they were accepted into the Pep Refresh Project. If you haven't heard of Pepsi refresh, it is an innitiative by Pepsi (obviously) to invest in our communities. There are several different levels of funding that people can register for and several different categories. The awards range from $5k to $250k and are awarded based on votes recieved via their website. For some more information, click here to read the F.A.Q.
P.U.P. was responsible for salvaging a large part of the old dome fabric from the RCA dome, when it was imploded, a couple of years ago. They have been working on repurposing the fabric into backpacks, handbags, etc. Their latest push, is to repurpose the fabric for usage in parks around the city. They want to make shelters urban parks with the material. The money will be spent on a number of things from supplies, labor, exhibition and overhead costs associated with the project. The following is cut n pasted from the OVERVIEW section of the Pepsi Refresh site:
The DOME PROJECT transforms the roof fabric of the recently demolished RCA Dome into shade structures, umbrellas, and pavilions for Indianapolis parks. One roof becomes hundreds - up to 13 acres of fabric will be distributed across the city. We at PUP believe that this project will provide a national example for urban responsibility and material repurposing.
Many of the city's urban parks & pools have insufficient shade structures and shelters. Though the IndyParks system has planned for many of these improvements, funding is limited. As such, THE DOME PROJECT will help revitalize these neighborhood parks, inviting a greater sense of community spirit and city pride.
- 150-250 Shade structures & pavilions installed throughout the city.
- 1 Public Exhibition that shows the history and process of the project.
- Coordinate 5 community park clean-up days that correspond with the installation of the shade structures
The Pepsi Refresh site asks that you register to vote. It is a simple pop up within your window and takes a minute to register. Please visit the site and register. it takes a moment and could go a long way to helping Indianapolis improve some of it's public places. Ive put a widget into this post to make it easy to get there.
Im not really quite sure if this is the place to post this or put out there that I do not know quite where to start on this. The property pictured in this post is located at 46th & Ralston Ave in what some people might call, south Broad Ripple (here in Indianapolis) some might just call it the in-between, others might call it the Keystone-Monon Neighborhood. No matter what, the lot is in need of help. Its located a few blocks south of where I live. I took this picture this morning, April 14th, 2010 and I have lived in my house for nearly two years. This property has appeared exactly how you see it, since I have lived in the neighborhood. I do not know who owns it, or if there is a plan to finish what appear to have been a church in the making. Whatever the case, the lot could use some help.
I contacted KIB first to see what, if anything, they could suggest. Is this the right first step? I don't know. Im hoping that someone there, or someone who reads this page, will have a suggestion on how to address this. I cannot help but think that a pocket park or SOMETHING would do on this lot. Its obviously been empty for a long time. Even if the concrete stayed up, it could be utilized as what NOT to do?? Who knows.. just talking out loud here now.. I'd love to see the lot cleaned up and made into something that this part of town could be proud of.
Last week, my wife took her photo class to the IMA which is a popular photo destination for people here in Indy. Who can argue with such well kept gardens such as those found around the Lilly House? However, this past week she turned me on to a new development. This new development is the Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park and according to the IMA webpage documenting it's design and progress, is being billed as, "one of the largest museum art parks in the country, and the only one to feature the ongoing commission of site-specific artworks."
After reading through the page, I was inspired to make this post. The photograph in this post was taken by my wife on a day when the weather was perfect for taking photographs. Hopefully, the weather will shine on this new greenspace for the residents of our city to take advantage of. Regular updates of the construction of the visitor pavillion can be seen here .
It is slated to open to the public in June of 2010. You can bet my wife and I will be taking our new little dude out there to check it out, once it is ready for visitors!
I woke up this past Saturday and checked some e-mail. My wife had a photo shoot so I was mosbey-ing around until I had to leave to get my hair trimmed. I happened across the Indianapolis Star and noticed on their front page that there was a story about the Post Recycling Day. I had read about this back on my holiday break but neglected to make a mark in my phone to alert me to this. I took a measure of the amount of time I had left and thought I had time. I had spent a lot of time over the holiday breaking down old boxes from our wedding that have sat for far too long. Last week, I had dropped off a car load of flattened boxes but there was more left.
There was a lot of #6 plastic (styrofoam). Lucky for me, the post holiday recycling drop off, accepted this so I loaded up the back seat of my Jeep with what I had. After my hair cut, I managed to get to the Broad Ripple Park location in time to drop off what I had. I was pleasantly surprised to see that there was a long line of traffic waiting to drop off their items as well. I pulled into a parking spot and wandered for a few moments and snapped a few photos. I saw a few other photographers there. A couple from Angie's List with a bunch of cameras around their necks and ,also the Indy Channel, were on site. So Im not the first to gush about this event. The temperatures were cold, there was a load of muddy slush on the ground but the cars kept coming non-stop. Fork trucks loaded up box trucks and dumpsters were filled with styrofoam.
In the end, it was nice to see a community coming together to drop off their recyclables instead of tossing them aside into the garbage.