Indianapolis is at the forefront of the revitalization movement going on around the country, a form of revitalization that keeps going and going. City officials, and neighborhood groups alike, have been hard at work taking neglected neighborhoods around the city and injected them with a little communal hard work, and of course money. These neighborhoods were, in recent years, dilapidating structurally, losing residents, and inviting floral overgrowth. But now, they are becoming the central focus for residents and newcomers alike.
Northeast Indy is made up of many neighborhoods packed within a small area. All counted there end up being nearly 20 neighborhoods in what makes up the Near Northeast side. Most of which are only about block or two in size. It’s safe to say you could call these “micro-neighborhoods”.
The near Northeast side of Indianapolis, like many neighborhoods in the city, has a long history of community organizations. For over a century, organizations such as NESCO or Near Eastside Community Organization have been providing much needed assistance to its neighborhood when times got tough. This type of admirable citizenship –one might call it– is quite common in the city of Indianapolis, especially in recent years. Neighborhoods all over the city have begun developing such groups after noticing their fellow Hoosiers in need, or more to the point, after noticing certain areas of their city needed a boost. Take for instance, the John H. Boner Community Center. This particular organization is dedicated to “improve the quality of life for Near Eastside residents” through “the creation of numerous services and programs”. As vague as that may seem, they’ve accomplished some pretty interesting, concrete improvements. For example, back in 2010 JHBCC in partnership with the Super Bowl Legacy Project and MIBOR’s Realtor Foundation, developed an organization called “Building a Living Legacy”. This unique group developed an even more unique project. Leading up the 2012 Super Bowl (which was held in Indianapolis), Building a Living Legacy dedicated time, effort, and numerous resources into building and renovating 32 different homes in the Near Northeast neighborhood of Indianapolis. The number 32 is significant in the sense that it’s based on the 32 teams that comprise the NFL, one house for each team. All 32 homes were indeed completed as scheduled, before the start of the 2012 Super Bowl in Indianapolis.
Another one of these great organizations is NEAR, or Near East Area Renewal. NEAR’s main focuses is residential development. While taking advantage of partner organizations to help with the advancement of the area, NEAR has accomplished everything from the renovation of historic neighborhood homes, to the development of affordable housing opportunities. Their mission statement brings their ideas together quite nicely, “It’s important to our organization that our mission, values, and priorities, reflect those of our community”. To reinforce this idea, they’ve written in their own bylaws the requirement that two-thirds of their Board of Directors must live or work in the Near East, while more than half are required to reside in the neighborhood. If that doesn’t scream “community involvement”, I don’t know what does!
Aside from the amazing community spirit that lives on the Near Eastside of Indy, this area is also home to a completely unique trail with a very interesting history. Pogue’s Run is a passage and stream that was once a busy trail for Native Americans and wildlife aplenty. Long before the initial arrival of the pioneer settlers, this corridor was used strictly as a means of transportation for the natives of this area. Although, around 1819 a man by the name of George Pogue, a humble blacksmith, settled on a hill overlooking the stream. Therein lies the name, Pogue’s Run. This pathway was actually one of the only disturbances that stood in the way city designers when they set out to make Indianapolis a perfect grid pattern. It was unavoidable to keep the creek fully intact, so they decided to create streets directly over the water. Today, a lot of what’s left of Pogue’s Run flows beneath downtown, though parts of the original creek have been turned into greenways that constitute walking paths. The city even recruited students from the Herron School of Art and Design to develop original pieces to sit alongside the trail. The wildlife that once used this path regularly can still be seen today. Be sure to keep your eyes open for the elusive Blue Heron that can be seen wading in the creek searching for fish or soaring high above your head!
So it’s safe to say that the Near Eastside has plenty to offer new residents. Whether your interest’s lie in cultural history or community involvement, you can always look to this wonderful part of Indy for your next home.