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Society of Salvage Spring 2014

This fun new antiques and salvage place opened in November of 2013 at 1021 E Michigan. The owners were incredibly welcoming and showed me all over, and gave me permission to take photos, which often hard to get. They have great vintage industrial furniture and electric lighting. The cool thing is that the do the rewiring of lighting there, so you don’t have to worry about old wiring if you buy cool vintage fixtures.

Society of Salvage
1021 E Michigan St., Indianapolis
Facebook: facebook.com/SocietyofSalvage/

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Midland Antique Mall Spring 2014

Home Before The Rain

Cultural Trail Ride

Dammann’s Lawn And Garden

Dammann's Lawn And Garden

Dammann’s Lawn And Garden

8005 E 30th St (Franklin Rd.), Indianapolis, IN 46219.

2014 HJR-3 House Vote - The Roll Call Vote Count

2014 HJR-3 House Vote

Go Ahead and Play Project

Go Ahead and Play Project Photos

A slide-show of photos of many of the piano’s from the Women’s Fund of Central Indiana’s “Go Ahead and Play” Project. Now that the pianos are out and about through the downtown area, check out some photos of the various artist’s work. And visit the pianos while you’re out at GenCon or IndyFringe this weekend. There’s a handy map here to find them.

Other than our own yarn-bombed piano, there are definitely several that I was enamored of, especially the Hidden Objects seek and find – the silver one – created by Go students in first through fifth grades. There’s just so much interesting stuff to find on that piano that I could have looked at it all day. I especially loved that there’s a monster truck rally taking place on top of the piano.

The 25th Annual Circle City Pride Celebration, June 8th

The Circle City Pride Celebration is a week of events, culminating in the Pride Parade and Festival on Saturday, June 8th. Visit their site for a list of the events; there’s lots to do this year throughout the week. But definitely the highlights are the parade and festival on Saturday.

The Cadillac Barbie Pride Parade kicks off at 10 am on Massachusetts Avenue and winds through downtown to the festival site at the American Legion Mall. There are over 100 groups marching in the parade and thousands of spectators. Come early to get a good spot – people begin assembling for the parade at 8:30 am. (I’ll be marching with city-county council member Zach Adamson’s group this year).

Indy Pride

The Circle City Pride Festival gates open at 11 a.m on Michigan street. The festival stretches 3 city blocks, and hosts over 300 vendors and dozens of different entertainers during the course of the day.

Indy Pride

Over the 25 years that this event has been going on, the Pride Celebration has been transformed from a small community event to a diverse state-wide gathering of thousands of people from all walks of life. Today the parade and festival have an estimated attendance of 80,000 people, with events going on all week long. The Indianapolis Star as a nice article about the 25 year history of the pride celebration that’s very worth reading. I was one of the attendees at the first pride celebration on the circle in 1988. I drove down with friends from Ball State to set up a booth for Ball State’s LGBT Student Association, now called “Spectrum.” It was held on the Circle the first few years, attended by several hundred people and lots of protestors.

I think the Pride organizers have done a fantastic job of growing the festival, and of making the event worthy of a city the size of Indianapolis. I’ve been a part of organizing events like this in the past – it isn’t easy and there are lots of details to chase down. I have a lot of respect for what the organization has been able to build over the years. I’m excited for this year’s event; it promises to be bigger and better than years past.

Indianapolis Cultural Trail Official Opening Celebration

Speaking of Indianapolis infrastructure – here is some news on a public works project that actually creates a positive impact on a large chunk of the city – The Indianapolis Cultural Trail “officially” opens on Saturday, May 11, with a round of celebrations called “Get Down On It.” (cute!) The celebration includes a pretty massive list of events at various locations around the trail, so click through to see your options for various live music events, outdoor theater, food venues and public arts projects, or download a handy map. Should be a fun celebration.

Cultural Trail Map

For those of us who have been enjoying it the past few years, the “official” opening is good news, the trail has been completed and you can now walk and bike all around downtown, enjoying public art and visiting retail and cultural attractions without dealing with parking and without the fear of getting creamed by cars. For folks who haven’t explored downtown, the cultural trail is a great way to see a lot of the major sites in Indianapolis. Again, without getting creamed by cars. It needs to be emphasized how awesome that is.

Infill Before Density: Some Ideas for Indy Velocity

Erika Smith from the Indy Star fills us in on a new plan for development in downtown Indianapolis that includes improving residential as well as retail and business development. Here’s some basics about the plan:

This is the thinking behind a new strategic plan called Velocity.

Led by IDI, this year-long process — with the help of dozens of community, political and business leaders — will come up with a five-year vision for Downtown Indianapolis. Under consideration are ways to drive economic development, make better use of public spaces and parks, improve transportation (yes, including transit), increase housing options, and add more arts and cultural attractions. A public launch is set for Tuesday.

But this isn’t planning for your father’s Downtown Indianapolis.

We’re talking Raymond Street to the south, 30th Street on the north, Tibbs Avenue to the west and Keystone Avenue/Rural Street to the east. That box includes a lot of up-and-coming neighborhoods that have benefited from Downtown’s growth, but it also includes a lot of neighborhoods that missed the rising tide that was supposed to lift all boats.

You can take a survey to give your opinions about what will improve downtown – your answers will help shape the advisory groups vision of what Indianapolis can be.

One of the things I emphasized in the comments of the survey is that we should concentrate on infill before density. There are hundreds of empty lots in downtown and “downtown adjacent” neighborhoods where homes have been bulldozed over the last 30 years. We have a lot of empty spaces to fill in – but rather than doing that completely with condos, townhomes and multi-story apartment buildings, consider strategically filling them in many of them with single-family residences. And where you are filling in with more dense residential construction – give apartments some breathing room. Make them three-bedroom rather than two. Make them two bedroom rather than one. Make them appealing to families with kids and dogs, not just single professionals. In short, concentrate on filling in the vast wasteland of empty lots up and down College Avenue with residences before building yet another downtown condo.

Old Northside Neighborhood

I agree that urban sprawl is bad. I know that density is considered ideal in urban planning. But we have a lot of empty slate to work with here. We can be careful about how much density we’re adding, because Indianapolis is attractive to it’s current residents for a reason. Stephanie and I considered living in Chicago, New York and Toronto when we were deciding where to live; we didn’t just land in Indianapolis by accident, or because we grew up here. The reason we picked Indianapolis over those other cities is because we’re able to afford to have a private library in our own home, and keep a dog and a vegetable garden in the yard, even living downtown. It’s not that I love driving – I’d rather take a bus (or better yet, a streetcar! Lets bring those back) to my workplace. But Chicago and New York seem frenetic and stressful, like there are people living in your lap all the time. We can come up with a happy medium between our current sprawl and the density of a large city, and better public transit can get us from place to place.

We’re not Chicago, and we don’t need to be. In fact it’s better off if that isn’t our goal; if we take advantage of opportunities we have that Chicago does not. Indianapolis has a distinct advantage in doing this sort of city planning over larger cities; we don’t have to make the same mistakes they did. We don’t have to force people to live in 300-square foot boxes because we’re retrofitting blocks and blocks of 200-year-old buildings. We don’t have to screw up by making the Robert Moses mistake of displacing urban neighborhoods and local businesses. We don’t have to become unfriendly to families with kids who need space to raise them. We also have the advantage of having a built-in target market for new residents – the people just north of us – the folks who grew up in Carmel and Noblesville because their parents moved out of Indianapolis in previous decades. This generation of young Hamilton County adults is more culturally aware than the people of their parent’s generation who fled the city for the suburbs. They’ll see the advantages of living closer to their workplace and shortening their commute while broadening their cultural exposure and awareness. But they grew up with a backyard and a dog and room and bedrooms for kids, and they may still want that.

I’m sort of curious whatever became of the Ball State plan for Urban Design Indianapolis that was in the works back in 2007 and 2008. I linked to that project several years ago, and when I went back to reference the guidelines they came up with here, the link to the website where the plan resided is broken. I was wondering how much that plan might inform the current one. After a considerable amount of searching, I wasn’t able to come up with a link to the plan that worked.

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