IDO Annual Mtg Graphic Heidi UngerLooking for something unique to do in the fall? Come to the Irvington Development Organization’s annual meeting and fundraiser! Get a sneak peak of the new Coal Factory development, behind the scenes tours of Black Acre’s brewing operations, sample some of their best libations, enjoy live music, and support the Irvington Development Organization that has brought about so much of the positive change and energy in our neighborhood. Hear about our accomplishments of the past year and plans for the next!

Beer and wine available for purchase and food trucks will be on site.

Get a free pint glass if you join or renew your membership that evening.

21 and older only.

Date: Saturday, September 26

Time: 6:00 – 9:00 pm

Location: Black Acre Brewery, in the Coal Factory, 5529 Bonna Avenue

Price: $25

Hope to see you there!

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About Irvington Development Organization

Irvington Development Organization, founded in 2002, works for the benefit of Irvington by cultivating positive business development, promoting the unique character of our neighborhood and enhancing the quality of life for residents and visitors. Irvington is a historic community on the East Side of Indianapolis known for its winding, tree-lined streets and architecturally significant homes and businesses.


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Neighborhood Spotlight: Stan Denski

Stan Denski

Stan Denski

Our July Neighborhood Spotlight lands on Stan Denski, the man behind the Irvington Folk Festival and all-around contributor to Irvington’s eclectic vibe. In this article, Nancy Larner Ruschman interviews Stan about the Irvington Folk Festival and his life as a long-

Stan Denski photo by Nancy Larner Ruschman; additional photos by Stan Denski.

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you ended up in Irvington.

A: In 1986 I was teaching Media Studies at The College of Wooster in Wooster, OH. It was a one-year lectureship position, and I was looking for a tenure-track position. After a search I wound up with two job offers: one from the University of Southern Maine at Orono, and the other from Indiana University in Indianapolis. After discussing it with my wife, Cheryl, we decided to make the move to Indy. I came to look at apartments and looked at nothing but apartment complexes on the North Side. On my last day in the city I saw an ad for a house for rent on North Ritter Ave in Irvington. I asked a few people about the area and decided to take the house. We moved in August of 1987. In 1989 we moved into the house we still live in today.

Q: Give us a some background on the Irvington Folk Festival: What is the festival? Why did you start it? How has it progressed? What outcomes have you seen as a result of the festival?

10406785_1102615986419817_2227493858200148403_n (1)A: The festival has its roots in the small college town of Clarion, Pennsylvania, in the summer of 1971. I was born and raised in Philadelphia and in June of 1971 I left to start college at Clarion. One of the first friends I made was a local guy who was reading Woody Guthrie’s autobiography Bound For Glory. One day he came by, angered by a newspaper article that said Guthrie’s hometown in Oklahoma was refusing to celebrate his birthday because of his left-leaning political background. “Someone should do something about it!” my friend said. And so the two of us organized ” The First Woody Guthrie Birthday Party Celebration “, renting the high school auditorium, getting a half dozen local bands to perform, and finding a local farmer who gave us a flatbed truck of watermelons. We were both 17 years old at the time and it was a hell of a nice party. In 2012 I saw that a major celebration was planned across the US for Woody’s 100th birthday, and my initial idea was to hold another celebration back in Clarion PA. I couldn’t really interest enough people – and it’s an 8 hour drive from Indianapolis — so I shifted my plans to Irvington. People asked me, “Why Irvington? Did Woody Guthrie have some sort of Irvington connection?” But the answer I ca10441028_10203047635270973_5923020755253265792_nme up with was this: Cities and towns across the US are celebrating Woody’s centennial. It makes sense that a celebration should be held in Indianapolis, and so the question I asked is, “Why NOT Irvington?” In July 2012 we held a 9-day festival that turned out to be the largest ” grassroots ” Guthrie celebration in the United States according to the Guthrie family website. Donn Smith, a local artist and musician, met Woody’s granddaughter Sarah Guthrie in Chicago and she was familiar with the Irvington festival!

Anyway the 2012 festival was so much fun and so successful that people kept asking to do it again, and the Historic Irvington Community Council liked the idea of a summer event to balance the yearly festival schedule, complementing the Halloween Festival in the fall. The event has grown since then thanks to a bunch of committed volunteers and a generous business community. As far as outcomes from the festival. I think it has contributed to the growing list of events that increasingly brings people from across Indianapolis into Irvington to visit shops and restaurants and to enjoy music and art.

Q: What are your top three favorite places in Irvington and why?

A: It’s really difficult to 11541936_1102619723086110_2837056126109476900_nlimit the answer to three. We love The Legend and Dufours. Both are very singular and distinctive places that really mirror the personalities of the people who run them, John and Kim Robertson and Maria Dufour. I haven’t missed an Irvington Mafia meeting (“Seeing a guy about a thing since 2010″) on Friday at Black Acre Brewing ever. That’s always fun. We take the dogs to Coal Yard Coffee at least two or three times a week so that’s a favorite destination too. I am in the Irvington Library even more often, another regular stop that’s distinctively Irvington.

Q: If you were the Mayor of Irvington what is one of the first things you would do?

A: The neighborhood is organized around five local organizations: The Historic Irvington Community Council, the Irvington Development Organization, the Irvington Garden Club, the Irvington Historical Society and the Irvington Business Association. One of the first things I would do would be to establish a quarterly meeting that would bring representatives from all five groups together to update each other and share ideas, plans, concerns, etc. I would also talk to Maria Dufour about a “Free Breakfast For Mayors” program and see if we couldn’t get that off the ground.

This is an excerpt from the July IDO Newsletter. The full version of the Newsletter can be found here.

2015 The crowd at Ellenberger from the Main Stage

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About Irvington Development Organization

Irvington Development Organization, founded in 2002, works for the benefit of Irvington by cultivating positive business development, promoting the unique character of our neighborhood and enhancing the quality of life for residents and visitors. Irvington is a historic community on the East Side of Indianapolis known for its winding, tree-lined streets and architecturally significant homes and businesses.

 

 


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Irvington Post Office Update

A lot has been happening with our lot at the corner of Ritter and Washington though it may not look it.

Just to recap, the Irvington Development Organization and the Irvington Historical Society partnered together to buy the former Irvington Post Office in late 2012. We were in the process of rehabilitating the building when it fell down in a storm in November 2013. The building was insured, but we still owe our lenders, Citizen’s Energy Group and the Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC), for the mortgage and a construction loan. We created an approval process and criteria by which to evaluate any prospective purchasers in order to have a transparent and equitable method to consider offers.

The committee that is charged with administering the property is made up of representatives from both organizations. Their priority has been to find a buyer who will construct a building on the site in order to restore the urban edge at this critical gateway to our business district and bring additional retail options. This will help create a deeper critical mass of shopping and activity in our district.DSCI0045

We have been trying to market the site through word of mouth and have had some nibbles so far. However, in order to increase our chances for finding the right buyer who will create the highest and best use for the neighborhood, we have proposed a plan to our lenders, which they have approved, and are more aggressively promoting the site through a number of initiatives.

First we hired Deb Kent, a neighborhood realtor, who responded to our call-out to Irvington real estate agents. She has listed the property on a number of real estate sites and is fielding inquiries. We installed a huge sign on the lot (if you haven’t noticed).

Then we hired architects, Mike Halstead and Jennifer Lofton of Halstead Architects, to create some conceptual renderings of what could be on the site.

After the building fell down and it was just a gravel lot, it seemed to shrink in size. It was difficult to remember that there had ever been a building there and to imagine that one could ever be there again. In order to help spark that imagination of what opportunities there were, Mike and Jennifer drafted some preliminary drawings of a feasible structure on that footprint.

This is not to say that this building is going to go there or should go there, but might go there, could go there. Psychologically, after seeing the renderings, it’s easier to realize that this little “postage-sized” lot could once again hold a substantial building.

This is no way addresses all the challenges that this site possesses, but we are trying to prepare for some of the hurdles that lie ahead. We presented the drawings to the neighborhood at a well publicized meeting of the Historical Irvington Community Council on June 23, 2015. Those in attendance enthusiastically reacted to the images. Not only did they admire Halstead’s designs, they become optimistic about the potential for the corner.Irvington PO Rendering 2

We also showed the renderings to staff from the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission. We did not present it for approval, just to get feedback, and it was well received. Meg Purnsley, Principle Architectural Reviewer, thought something like this, with similar scale and massing, could be favorably received by the commission. She also gave some guidance on addressing potential issues that may arise when trying to develop the site.

We will also be sharing the designs with the city’s Departments of Public Works and Code Enforcement to try to foresee any issues that a developer would encounter and resolve them as much as possible beforehand.

Momentum is building for the humble little corner and we are already receiving serious inquiries about the site. With the imminent completion of the Pennsy Trail alongside, we are hoping more prospective purchasers will see the potential and we’ll find the right fit for the old Post Office and Irvington.

For more information, please contact Margaret Lawrence Banning at margaret@irvingtondevelopment.org or call 317-260-0669.

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About Irvington Development Organization

Irvington Development Organization, founded in 2002, works for the benefit of Irvington by cultivating positive business development, promoting the unique character of our neighborhood and enhancing the quality of life for residents and visitors. Irvington is a historic community on the East Side of Indianapolis known for its winding, tree-lined streets and architecturally significant homes and businesses.

 

 

 


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Welcome to our June Newsletter! This month we’re highlighting one of our youth volunteers, Adam Warner. You’ll find more stories of interest in the full version of the June newsletter. Happy reading!

Youth Voice in Irvington: New Volunteer, Adam Warner

Many of you who read our newsletters and blog may have noticed that we’re highlighting an Irvington neighbor or business each month. Our Communications team thought this would be a good way to bring the faces and places of Irvington to life. We also thought it important to bring a younger voice into our newsletter as it’s been heavily focused on content that appeals to the 20-plus-year-old crowd.

Luck would have it that soon after stating this goal, a young man contacted me with an interest in writing for IDO. That young man is 15-year-old Irvington resident, Adam Warner. I asked if he might be interested in occasionally interviewing Irvington youth for our newsletters and blog and he accepted.

Before we had Adam begin this venture, we thought it might be a good idea for you to get to know him. Below is a letter he wrote to us regarding his interest in volunteering with IDO, followed by his interview.

We are seriously impressed with Adam’s mature approach to this volunteer opportunity. We hope you enjoy getting to know him and the young folks he’ll be introducing us to!

Nancy Larner Ruschman
IDO Board Member and Chair of IDO Communications Committee

Youth volunteer, Adam Warner. Selfie in front of the Irvington United Methodist Church.

A few words from Adam
Dear IDO,

To begin this letter, I want to thank the Irvington Development Organization for

allowing me the opportunity to volunteer in a meaningful way, by helping the community I have lived in my whole life.

I chose to volunteer with this organization as it is active in projects that are beneficial not only to myself, but also to the many members of the community I know so well. Promoting and advertising development is a positive aspect that Irvington is lucky to have, as it creates an enthusiasm for residents as they discover the new venues that affect their lives. The lively entertainment and vibrant atmosphere that surround Irvington today have not always been present, and I look forward to contributing in making positive changes as the community breaks new boundaries.

The potential I see with Irvington is limitless, and working with the IDO in moving forward is a newfound goal of mine, and one I hope to accomplish.

Sincerely,

Adam

Interview with Adam Warner

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m Adam, a 15-year-old, lifelong Irvington resident! I went to Irvington Community Schools from K-8, and now go to Herron High School. 

Why did you decide to volunteer with Irvington Development Organization?

I think Historic Irvington is an awesome community, and want to help it in any way I can! There are a lot of improvements to be done, and think it would be awesome to see those happen.

What do you like to do for fun?

I love to read and watch movies, but I am usually really busy with school and after-school activities.

What are your top three favorite places in Irvington and why?

My top three places in Irvington are the Benton House, Wylie’s, and Starbucks because they’re such a cool combination of locations.

If you were the Mayor of Irvington what is one of the first things you would do?

I would try to add more development in West Irvington, as it has a lot of potential I would like to see!

 

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About Irvington Development Organization

Irvington Development Organization, founded in 2002, works for the benefit of Irvington by cultivating positive business development, promoting the unique character of our neighborhood and enhancing the quality of life for residents and visitors. Irvington is a historic community on the East Side of Indianapolis known for its winding, tree-lined streets and architecturally significant homes and businesses.

 

 


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Hot off the press! Below is a reprint of the June 16 IBJ article on the redevelopment of the former Irvington Post Office site located on the north east corner of Washington St and Ritter Ave.

 

Irvington officials seeking developer for high-profile parcel

June 16, 2015

Irvington officials hope a highly visible vacant lot along East Washington Street is ripe for development after high winds blew through the area nearly two years ago and reduced their original plans to a pile of rubble.

Strong storms in November 2013 toppled much of the former post office building at the corner of Washington and Ritter Avenue, which had stood for 110 years.

The Irvington Development Organization and the Irvington Historical Society bought the building and were in the process of stabilizing it to attract a commercial buyer. With the building gone, IDO now is working with a blank canvas.

The group has listed the 49-foot-by-120-foot parcel for $25,000 and is seeking proposals from developers. The group also is working with an architect on a conceptual drawing to show potential developers what the lot could accommodate. IDO ideally wants a three-story building with retail on the lower level and apartments above.

“We want to show a developer what could go there and help inspire some imagination,” IDO Executive Director Margaret Lawrence Banning said.

The site is challenged not only by its small size but lack of parking as well. So IDO is “running as many traps as possible” to showcase the site and will present its plans to both the neighborhood and the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission.

“We just want to make it easier for anybody who wants to go in there,” Banning said.

Irvington residents can learn more about IDO’s plans at a June 23 meeting set for 7 p.m. at the Irvington Presbyterian Church, 55 S. Johnson Ave. Locally based Halstead Architects is working up a sketch to unveil at the meeting.

Deb Kent, an Indianapolis real estate agent who resides in Irvington, is listing the property for IDO and so far has receives “some nibbles,” she said.

“It needs to enhance the community,” Kent said of the project. “It can’t be a Dollar Store or a check-cashing place. It just needs to be something that we can all be proud of.”

Irvington officials are excited about the opportunities, despite the loss of such a historic structure.

Constructed in 1903, the two-story building had not been used as a post office for years and had been slated for demolition in 2012. It had been vacant since 1997.

But IDO and the Irvington Historical Society bought the building in hopes of saving it. The groups raised $12,000 and landed another $50,000 grant for the work.

Steel supports were scheduled to be delivered a day after the storm, and façade work was set to begin last spring. IDO also had planned to install a new roof on the building.

The location is prime Irvington real estate, Kent said.

“If you look at East Washington Street, it’s the only open lot [in the neighborhood],” she said.

IDO hopes to have a buyer for the property by the end of the year, Banning said.


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