Two new Indianapolis neighborhoods were chosen Wednesday for an initiative meant to stimulate under-developed areas. One of them is the southeast neighborhood Twin Aire, the other is around 25th and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. streets.
Great Places 2020 began a couple years ago – through it a group of civic organizations picks out Indianapolis neighborhoods in need of becoming, as Jeff Sparks puts it, more vibrant.
“So roads and sidewalks, to housing, to beautification, and creating a strong housing market…and then commercial,” Sparks says.
Sparks is a board member of the community development corporation for Indy’s southeast side, which includes neighborhoods like Fountain Square and Garfield Park. He says Twin Aire was a lively, popular place in the 1950’s, but says bigger development around the city pulled visitors away and the area lost its luster.
With its new resources, primarily in the form of planning assistance, Sparks says community leaders will have to be careful not to push out Twin Aire’s working class population.
“It’s a really difficult line to walk," Sparks says, "to becoming a vibrant neighborhood while not going so far that you price things out of the reach of the folks who have made it strong today.”
Great Places 2020 says more than $84 million has been committed to three previously chosen neighborhoods, money raised with the help of over 50 partners.