By Katie Hughes;   Photo Credit: Yasha Persson

This month’s Neighbor Spotlight is on Yasha Persson, a new member of the Irvington business community and one of the proud new owners of the historic Irvington Lodge located at 5515 E. Washington Street. Yasha, who has lived on the east side of Indianapolis for almost 30 years and currently lives just outside of Irvington, has always known and loved the neighborhood.  

When she and her business partner discovered that the former Irvington Masonic Lodge was for sale, they were ready for the opportunity to start something new in the area. Yasha expressed that, “We bought the building because it’s beautiful. We want to save it from ruin. We want to see the community using it for fun positive things!”

What do you do for fun?
For fun, I love to draw, paint, and do collages — basically make things. I also like teaching yoga and Silver Sneakers exercise classes at Get Fit right down the street on the corner of East Washington St. and Shortridge Rd. Currently I’m enjoying fixing up the Irvington Lodge, which has been neglected for many years. I enjoy fixing things that other people can enjoy and appreciate!

What’s your favorite walk, bike ride, block, or view in the neighborhood?
I love the [Pennsy] Trail in front of Coal Yard Coffee.  It’s a hidden treasure way better than any other trail I’ve been on!

If you were Mayor of Irvington for a day, what would you do first?
If I were mayor for a day, I would engage with the city and community to continue to explore options that make it easier for people to help improve our sidewalks and buildings. For example, if someone wants to improve their business property, the process can be complicated, lengthy, and costly. I would work in support of making these efforts more accessible for prospective businesses and interested individuals in collaboration with city and neighborhood leaders.

Also, I would let everyone know they are welcome here and give people tax credits for making our city better in any way. For example, volunteers who spend time with people who need help, help out in schools, fix up homes and buildings etc. Anything that makes all people feel WELCOME and SAFE!  Although we just became owners of the building, my hope is that working in Irvington and with groups like the Irvington Development Organization, our presence will continue to be positive, progressive, and inclusive!

A big welcome to Yasha and the new tenants at the Irvington Lodge — check out their Facebook page here and read more about this former Masonic temple here. The space re-opened to the public with an open house on Saturday, June 30.