IndyEast Promise Zone Industrial Bus Tour Sparks Interest in Revitalization

Indy Chamber News Archives

Develop Indy recently partnered with the City of Indianapolis and IndyEast to host a bus tour of the IndyEast Promise Zone’s Industrial Sites. Gathering a group of employers, developers, funders, and real estate professionals, the bus tour was designed to showcase opportunities for revitalization at featured industrial sites.

Designated as a federal Promise Zone in 2015, the near eastside of Indianapolis is one of 22 nationwide locations that are high poverty and high capacity communities. In each Promise Zone, the federal government is working with local leaders to increase efforts to achieve neighborhood created goals and priorities. In the IndyEast Promise Zone, the John Boner Neighborhood Center is leading efforts for revitalization.

The IndyEast Promise Zone has five focus areas, including education, economic development, public safety, affordable housing, and job creation. As a part of the job creation component the Work IndyEast Committee was formed to focus on the goals related to job creation and workforce development. Those goals include: redevelop industrial sites into zones of commerce, decrease unemployment and increase household income for unemployed or underemployed neighborhood residents, and support infrastructure improvements as a top priority guiding employment and development on transit corridors. 

Subcommittees, or working groups, were formed around each of the goals of the Work IndyEast plan. The Industrial Redevelopment subcommittee is tasked with helping redevelop key industrial sites located within the boundaries of the Promise Zone. Working with Develop Indy and the City of Indianapolis, the Industrial Redevelopment subcommittee hosted the bus tour, modeling it after a similar endeavor in Gary, Indiana.

Pamela Grisemer, VP of Sustainability Services for KERAMIDA introduced the idea to the Industrial Redevelopment subcommittee as a way to meet their job creation goals. “My first opportunity hosting a brownfield tour was in May 2016, when KERAMIDA worked with the North West Indiana Brownfield Coalition to highlight sites in East Chicago, Hammond and Gary. Seven of the nine sites we featured are in some stage of redevelopment today. I know the tour definitely spurred the interest and relationships needed to propel those sites forward.”

The guided tour featured key industrial sites in the Promise Zone, including 100 acres in Twin Aire, Sherman Park, Pogues Run Industrial Park, the PR Mallory building, and the site at 1411 Roosevelt Avenue. These sites share several commonalities, including easy access to railroads, infrastructure, and a readily available workforce. The history of each site was explained, including the production of the first battery at the PR Mallory Building on East Washington Street.

“The tour was a great way to get these properties some needed visibility. With the team from Develop Indy and the City of Indianapolis that specialize in redevelopment in attendance at the tour, attendees were able to make valuable connections that are helpful after purchasing a site for redevelopment,” explained Ian Nicolini, Executive Director of Develop Indy and Vice President of Indianapolis Economic Development at the Indy Chamber.

To learn more about the sites featured on the IndyEast Industrial Bus Tour, contact Jon Berg at jberg@jbncenters.org. To learn more about how Develop Indy and the City of Indianapolis can help with redevelopment efforts, contact Jim Rawlinson at jrawlinson@Indychamber.com.


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