A redevelopment plan was unveiled Tuesday for Sherman Park, an abandoned 50-acre lot on Indianapolis’ near-east side.
Near East Area Renewal, or NEAR, is the nonprofit development group that led the planning process, which involved a series of meetings and public gatherings over the last 12 months.
NEAR Director John Franklin Hay says they recommend using about 70 percent of the site as a light industrial zone. Hay says they found that within a quarter-mile radius of Sherman Park, average income is under $20,000 a year.
“There’s serious poverty, and there’s serious unemployment around here," Hay says. "So the plan calls for a preference for jobs, or entry-level jobs, for folks that are at low incomes right now.”
The group says its plan would create around 500 jobs – a small portion of the 8,000 jobs available at the RCA plant that closed there in 1995.
The rest of the site, as the plan outlines, would be used for a park, retail space, and multi-family housing.
The City of Indianapolis owns the land, so it’s up to them to prepare the site and implement the plan.
A portion of the site is contaminated with industrial waste. NEAR and the city are working with the EPA to remediate the pollution, which they say has already started and should be finished in the next two years.
City officials say they plan to invest $10 million to repair infrastructure like streets, sidewalks and drainage in preparation for new development.
Funding will come through a variety of sources, much of it from federal grant programs.