Friday, December 20, 2013

A Season of Community Hope

Hope takes on a variety forms in our urban neighborhood

Formerly abandoned houses that the nonprofit I lead --
Indy-east Asset Development -- has lovingly restored
in the St. Clair Place neighborhood.
Clearly, it’s Christmastime in the city and throughout Near Eastside neighborhoods. Today, I enjoyed a walk through the snow in Spades Park along Pogue’s Run. I reflected on this season of hope in our community.

Hope is seeded in a church basement full of neighbors on a cold night for the quarterly Near Eastside Quality of Life Summit--expressing support for promoting early childhood education, making the neighborhood more responsive to folks grappling with reentry, exploring reuse of an industrial brownfield for solar energy to power a neighborhood, and empowering diversity in neighborhood leadership.

Hope is expressed in the passion and planning to redevelop a two-mile section of a major urban corridor. ReEnergize East Washington Street--spearheaded by Joe Bowling and supported by I AD and LISC--maps forward-looking design and economic development strategies that can revitalize this heavily-traveled route.

Hope is traced in the engineering now underway to create the Pogue’s Run Trail, bringing more walkability, green space access, and recreation to Near Eastside neighbors in 2014. Pogue’s Run Trail will start on E. 10th St. at Commerce Ave. and run northeast through Spades Park and Brookside Park. Eventually, it will wind southward through Cottage Home and Holy Cross neighborhoods and connect to downtown.

Hope is felt in the warmth of hospitality offered and conversation shared in Near Eastside eateries like Tin Comet Coffee and Tlaolli Tamale restaurant (both new in 2013), along with Pogue’s Run Grocer, La Parada, and Tick Tock Lounge (rebooted with an upgrade).

Hope is visualized with I AD’s construction on six houses in St. Clair Place--restoration work that paves the way for new home-owning neighbors in the first half of 2014. It’s in the planning underway to continue renewal in St. Clair Place throughout 2014 and in exploration for development in more neighborhoods.

Hope is in the promise of renewal, even during these colder, darker days of winter. Thanks for your part in engaging in acts of hope—engagement, hospitality, care, investment, visioning, planning, and restoration with us. May we together carry this forward to fruitful reality in our Near Eastside community throughout 2014.

John Franklin Hay
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

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