Independent We Stand, an advocacy network for independently-owned businesses, is running a contest for America’s Main Street. We found out about the contest late so have some catching up to do. We need Irvington supporters to go to https://www.mainstreetcontest.com/nominees once a day, every day until April 22 for us to make it to the quarterfinals. The grand prize is $25,000 which will go towards the maintenance of our streetscape and lights. But more importantly, well deserved bragging rights!
Here’s our write up:
Irvington was established in 1870 as a suburb to Indianapolis, then five miles down the National Road or Washington Street as it is now known. The city annexed Irvington in 1903, but the neighborhood has always kept a fierce pride and independent and quirky identity. A newspaper article from that year described it as, “Irvington, the classic suburb which has an interesting way of turning up all kinds of freaks and strange things generally.” Today the neighborhood is a hip hamlet in close proximity to downtown Indy but with a small town feel. New families are moving in and enjoy the walkable and bikeable access to Washington Street, the commercial heart of the neighborhood which has enjoyed a recent revitalization with shops and restaurants featuring spruced up facades on the historic buildings. The state’s largest historic district, Irvington has a rich history of arts and culture and hosts the largest and oldest Halloween festival in the state, closing down Washington Street for the day with activities for all ages. Led by the Irvington Development Organization (IDO) and working with the City of Indianapolis, residents applied for a Transportation Enhancement Grant and raised the local match of $250,000 to rebuild the corridor, adding landscaped planters and medians, street furniture, and decorative street lights, which IDO maintains. The neighbors have a deep sense of ownership for the streetscape and turnout for clean-up days. This stretch of the National Road has a proud history which is illustrated by an interpretive kiosk. The library is building a plaza in front of their Washington Street location which will become the neighborhood’s “town square” and can further enliven the corridor. As we approach our sesquicentennial, we are planning for another 150 years of vitality and culture.