by ari attack, editor

There’s another gentrifying movement going on in Indy, ‘Monon 16.’ Indianapolis put $4.5 million to this initiative to help ‘revitalize’ the Kennedy-King neighborhood (located immediately surrounding the intersection of 16th Street and the Monon Trail, I-70 to the south, 22nd Street to the north, Central Avenue to the west, and Dr. Andrew J. Brown Avenue to the east.)

Every issue I have with gentrification – many ask, “what’s so wrong with revitalizing a neighborhood?” The real answer is, nothing. Helping a neighborhood gain more resources and become more safe are two great things.

As long as it’s promised that low income neighbors won’t be displaced.

I’ve seen what’s happened with Fall Creek Place. As new homes, and new – higher income level – neighbors come in, the area will continue to change. Not to mention racist realtors who’s intention is to rid the neighborhood of it’s culture. (Ahem, Flock Realty)

I’ll say this forever: I love the black neighborhoods of Indianapolis. As a black woman from Indy, I’m attached to these areas. They represent home, traditions, soul and strong communities. Yes, there’s gun violence – but that’s nothing new. Also, gun violence happens in non-black neighborhoods – but many developers don’t see that.

Pushing out low income renters is the quickest way to gentrify a neighborhood and displace families. I don’t want to imagine my city full of Broad Ripples and Fountain Squares without low income residents being able to live and enjoy it too. I’ve already contemplated how long I can live in my neighborhood (Crown Hill) before the Great Places 2020 project comes and displaces us for more breweries and sidewalks.

The idea is to make all Indy neighborhoods experience the “success of downtown,” according to Mayor Joe Hodgsett.

As quoted in the IndyStar: “When I was elected Mayor, I promised to leverage the success of Downtown back into our neighborhoods,” Hogsett said in a written statement. “As a first-of-its-kind investment strategy for Indianapolis, Lift Indy allows us to concentrate significant funding toward addressing neighborhood challenges and sustaining healthy communities.”

This movement, also known as ‘Lift Indy,’ will name a neighborhood a year to be “lifted” from it’s current state. Each neighborhood that’s lifted will receive grant money from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to improve the area over the next three years.

As the city wakes up to the idea of gentrification, I’m seeing our neighborhoods already be transformed into something that I don’t recognize. Another question: what happens to historic black neighborhoods once all of Indy looks like “urban” and “hip.” With all the high rise apartments, high rents and soon high property taxes, many Indianapolis residents will be cast aside to make room for the upper class. Honestly, it makes me sick.

On the website, there’s info encouraging residents to buy homes. But there’s no resources for those who aren’t exactly ready to put down a few thousand for a house.

I have hope that anyone can get involved to help stop this crisis known as gentrification – because we can’t let our fate be chosen for us. It’s time to take the power back. Get involved and figure out what’s going on in your neighborhood, before it isn’t your neighborhood anymore.