By Ed Myers, President, Irvington Garden Club

garden tourThroughout the past 16 years, those attending the garden club’s annual garden tours have had the opportunity to walk shaded paths, witness the flashing shadows of overhead branches on the ground and maybe, if one was nearby, sit on a garden bench.
Others have felt the cooling effect of a fountain or gazed into plant-filled pond and wondered why the koi fish within have grown so big while theirs had not.
Walk slowly, as you visit the eight gardens on this year’s Irvington Garden Tour, so as not to disturb a monarch butterfly, delight in the pleasing color combinations of flower pots on a patio, and stop to smell the honey perfume fragrance of a nearby rose.
This year’s tour is scheduled for Sunday, June 25, 1-5 p.m.Still only $10 dollars (children under 14 are admitted free of charge), tickets for the tour may be purchased the day of the tour at the Benton House Historic Garden, 312 South Downey Avenue.


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This summer, join Friends of Irving Circle Park 800pxIrving Circle in celebrating 25 years of summer concerts in the park. All concerts are free of charge and family friendly. Irving Circle Park, one of historic Irvington’s most treasured landmarks, is located where South Audubon Road meets East University Avenue.

The bands play from 7 to 9 p.m. while neighbors serve brats, hot dogs, and popcorn. Bring cash for concessions, and folding chairs or blankets to spread out under any of the park’s many shade trees.

Audio Dinner: 7-9 p.m., Saturday, June 3; folk rock, acoustic, and blues

Blue Alchemy: 7-9 p.m., Saturday, July 8; rock

The Roundups: 7-9 p.m.,  Saturday, August 5; vintage western swing, hillbilly/rockabilly, and honky tonk

Lightweights XL: 7-9 p.m., Saturday, September 9; rock

Friends of Irving Circle is a nonprofit organization established by neighborhood volunteers who care for the park and host events throughout the year. New volunteers are welcome, and many volunteer opportunities are suitable for youth. If you would like to help out, contact Sue Beecher at sue.beecher@hotmail.com.
Thank you to the following sponsors who support the park and make these free summer concerts possible: Glenroy Construction, Irvington Community Council, Irvington Garden Club, Jockamo Upper Crust Pizza, Irvington Wellness Center,  The Butler Inn, TACS, Inc., Bookmamas,  Jack and Jill Antique Mall, George Thomas Florist, Kemba Credit Union, Central Ace Hardware, and Indy Parks Department.


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The 43rd Annual Benton House Tour of Homes 49 N Sheridanis on Sunday, September 17th 2017, and the Home Tour Committee is now recruiting homeowners to showcase their homes. Consider participating, even if you’re unsure about it. Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be on the tour? Benton House board member and past tour participant Lisa Watson shares her story.

“My house isn’t ready. Maybe next year.”

“I don’t want people riffling through my things.”

“There isn’t anything special about my house.”

These are all things I have heard and possibly even said about participating in the Benton House Tour of Homes. I moved to Irvington in September of 2011 and went on my first tour that month. It was quite simply amazing on a few levels. People volunteering to open their homes up to let strangers walk through?! Now, a few years later, I know that there is no such thing as a stranger in Irvington.

In the spring of 2013, I was asked to be on the home tour and I just wasn’t ready. I said, “There is so much I want to do to the house first.” I had DREAMS! Redo this room, and that one, and that one too! The Home Tour Committee received the “maybe next year” that they so often hear.

The following spring, I was asked again. You know what? I hadn’t done any of the things I had wanted to do, but this time, I said yes.

I had a lot to do. I didn’t really have to, but I wanted to. What committing to the September date did was challenge me to get some of those wish list things done. I replaced a window with French doors and had some landscaping done.

The days leading up to the event were filled with dusting, cleaning, excitement, and a little anxiety. “What if no one likes my home?,” I worried.

The weather on the day of the tour was perfect. Slight breeze, warm but not too hot, humidity was low. Let’s get this thing going!

Friends were in place and knew a bit about my house, if there were questions asked. And then they came. A couple hundred people walked through my home. I met so many lovely neighbors.

It was so worth it. I’d do it again in a minute!

Here are some of the questions (excuses) I have heard for reasons not to be on the home tour:

“My house isn’t ready. Maybe next year.”or “We are in the middle of renovating, but haven’t finished the work.”

Homes in transition are often exactly what people like to see. Being able to see the history evolving – sometimes down to the studs – people love seeing it all! The thing to remember is, this is a home tour, so personality and a lived-in feel is wanted; it shouldn’t feel staged.

“I don’t want people riffling through my things.”

They don’t; they won’t. The people on the tour are extremely respectful and appreciative of the fact that you’ve opened your home. And volunteers keep a watchful eye as they guide visitors and answer questions.

“There isn’t anything special about my house.”

I doubt that. Your statement is invalid! Home tour houses can be large or small; professionally decorated or DIY; filled with antiques, art, or just comfy furniture; or have an interesting or unknown history. Regardless of whether your home has unique nooks or the same features as nearly every house on the block, it’s interesting to someone.

“I don’t want anyone in that room.”

Then close the door! I had child gates in the doors of the two rooms where family members asked that I not let people in them; people could see, but not go in. Others have simply shut the door.

As you can see, having your home on the tour is pretty laid back. Whatever you feel comfortable with is what people experience. All profits from the home tour go to the upkeep and maintenance of the Benton House, which is an Irvington landmark that was built in 1873 and is now restored and open to the public. The Tour of Homes is our largest fundraiser and helps us sponsor community events and maintain the home and property. Help us by showcasing your home. Contact Elizabeth Wissel by phone at 317-572-8584 or by e-mail at bentonhousehometour@gmail.com.


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Coal Factory Redevelopment:  IDO Community Update Meeting

Tuesday, December 6

6:00 pm

Fellowship Hall

Irvington United Methodist Church

30 N. Audubon Rd.

(please note the location change)

Irvington Development Organization is hosting the second in a series of meetings over the next couple of months before the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission (IHPC) hears the rest of the items (variances, site plan, design, and demolition) in the proposed redevelopment of the Coal Factory property. This meeting will be a chance for the development team to show two versions of the project designs based on the comments from the neighbors in previous meetings.   

To recap, IHPC voted to include residential and artisan and beverage/food production uses in the CS zoning of the property at their November hearing. They are scheduled to hear the additional items at their January 4, 2017 hearing unless it needs to be continued further out. No actual work can be done on the site until those other items are approved.

Please come with your ideas for how to make the project better!

For notes from the last meeting and additional facts regarding the Coal Factory Redevelopment, please click here.

Questions? contact Margaret at Margaret@irvingtondevelopment.org, 317-260-0669 or Antone at antone@thirdstreetventures.com.

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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. To donate to IDO or become a member click here. 


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The community of Irvington needs a new sign! We’re unsure how many years the Town of Irvington sign was posted near the eastern edge of Irvington (at 6738 East Washington Street), but we do know that the wooden sign has rotted beyond repair and fallen from its mount. The sign had been posted along the historic National Road, and thousands of motorists, bus riders, bicyclists, and walkers travel this stretch of road every day.

Irvington Sign Mounted

 

With support from Irvington organizations including Irvington Terrace Crime Watch, Historic Irvington Community Council, Irvington Development Organization, Irvington Pet Clinic, and Coal Yard Coffee, a group of neighbors has set out to replace the sign and revamp the space.

We’re hiring an artist to design and create a new sign. Artists: download the RFP and submit your design before the August 21 deadline. If Irvingtonians vote your design as their favorite, you’ll receive $1,000 plus up to $300 for project supplies, and you’ll have the honor of creating the new sign, to be installed in October 2016.

The best sign design will reflect the neighborhood’s character. Irvington residents are known for their love of history, art, architecture, literature, and nature. They’re dedicated to preserving the past while also supporting innovation and growth.

To improve the overall look of the site where the sign will be posted, a crew of neighbors will remove the existing bushes and replace them with small native trees, native plants, and mulch. We’re incorporating native plants in this space because they are environmentally friendly, naturally conserve resources such as water, and support wildlife.

Interested in owning the original sign? We’ll soon announce details for bidding on it in a single-item silent auction. Interested in seeing the drawings in person and helping choose the winning design? Stay tuned. Wondering how you can help us prep, plant, and maintain the space? Great! For updates on this project, follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/irvingtonresigned) and Twitter (@Irv_reSigned), and encourage your favorite artists to enter the contest.

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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. To donate to IDO or become a member click here.


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IDO is holding a gala dinner under the stars at Tyner Pond Farm near Greenfield, IN on September 10. This elegant yet rustic event will help to raise funds that will help strengthen and support Irvington’s commercial district which focuses on recruiting quality businesses to the Irvington area. The event will also introduce Irvington to Chris and Amy Baggott, owners of Tyner Pond Farm and two soon-to-open restaurants on South Audubon Road, The Mug and Griggsby’s Station, and their natural farming processes and high-quality meats. The Baggotts have become leaders in sustainable food production, distribution, and preparation. Their restaurants in Greenfield are getting rave reviews, and we’re very excited to welcome them to Irvington!tyner pond farm2

The harvest menu will be prepared by Chef Lawrence Scully (of Pi food truck) and feature seasonal, local produce including wines and beers. Jazz musician favorite Charlie Ballantine (named “Best Jazz Musician” of 2015 by NUVO magazine) will also perform. All attendees will be eligible to win a two-night stay at the fabulous Tyner Pond Farmhouse on a date to be agreed upon. Farm animals ARE included!

Come join us at what will certainly be an entertaining, enlightening, and filling evening while supporting the Irvington Development Organization and YOUR local businesses. Ticket cost is $100, and can be purchased through Eventbrite  here.

We are also looking for volunteers to set up, serve, and clean up after the event. If you’re interested in helping in a more direct, in-kind way, contact margaret@irvingtondevelopment.org.

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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. To donate to IDO or become a member click here.


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