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Revitalization on Indy’s Eastside

Posted by chamberadmin on September 30, 2016

Community players look to reimagine and reinvent their part of town.

Over the last two years, the Indianapolis East Redevelopment Committee (IERC) has worked to identify ways to make a lasting impact on the Eastside of Indy and beyond.

The organization got its start when Emerson Avenue was in need of repaving from I-70 to 21st Street, and the city looked for community involvement to get the project off the ground. Area partners came together, but soon found a greater common interest beyond paving a road: revitalization on the Eastside of Indy. 

Today, the IERC has grown to serve as the umbrella organization that provides resources and raise awareness about redevelopment for Eastside community, businesses, and neighborhood associations.  Partners include Community Hospital East, Warren Township Schools, Raytheon, Community East Hospital, Finish Line, and Caito Foods, Indy Chamber, Marriott East and Far Eastside Neighborhood Association. The committee meets regularly with the goal to promote quality of life issues on the vast eastern part of Indianapolis. 

“What we consider the Eastside is from downtown to Cumberland. It’s a huge geographic area and we need everyone at the table working together for redevelopment. Irvington is so different from Warren Park, which is different from Lawrence. The work each neighborhood is doing is important, and the IERC serves as a convener to provide strategy to the entire Eastside,” says Jim Rawlinson, Regulatory and Permitting Ombudsman at the Indy Chamber, member of IERC, and President of the Little Flower Neighborhood Association.

A foundational initiative of the IERC has been the Emerson Corridor Strategy. This strategy, headed up by Community Hospital has identified major employers in the area.  The IERC has used this information to expand the reach and grow the numbers of businesses and organizations in the community that are participating. 

One of IERC’s strategies for economic development is to provide job resources to graduating students immediately joining the workforce. Working with Warren Township Schools, the largest employer on the Eastside, IERC coordinated a Job Resource Fair in May for Warren Central High School graduating seniors. These students were able to access job training and job placement through the Walker Career Center, WorkOne, and EmployIndy.

“We are highly invested in working with the youth of the Eastside by providing them access to jobs, leading to economic prosperity and safety in Eastside neighborhoods. We want to find the best opportunities for students, prepare them, and connect them with local employers,” says Karen Lightbourne, community advocate for the City of Indianapolis and member of IERC.

Other goals of the IERC include, emphasizing public safety through community policing and job training programs, showcasing Eastside success stories, and expanding the Emerson Corridor Strategy from 10th Street to Washington Avenue

Addressing public safety, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) is partnering with Eskenazi Health to do ride-alongs to promote mental health and, asking those in the community what they need. This could include access to medication, food, help paying their bills, etc. The goal is to address problems before they become emergencies.

To get involved with IERC, please contact Jim Rawlinson at jrawlinson(at)indychamber.com