86th_and_Keystone_Design-CEC-8-5-15-4

Nora Keystone Gateway: Preliminary Design #1

This summer community members met with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc. (KIB) for the Nora Alliance’s first meeting to capture public input regarding Nora’s Keystone & 86th Street Gateway.

Check out the PRELIMINARY DESIGN provided by Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc and CEC, Inc. We’d like to have your input!

Items discussed at July 2015 public meeting:

 Appearance of space
 Keep canopy
 Examine range of improvements
 Improve connectivity (accommodate future improvements)
 Wildflowers
 Public Art (North Central Students?)
 Clean up trash
 Improved signage
 Neighborhood identity
 Improve lines of sight
 Incorporate INDOT trees

Preliminary design preparation thoughts:

  1. Improve manicured edge/INDOT required buffer – 20’ +/‐
  2. Accommodate future pedestrian connector

‐ Maintain a 25’ +/‐ manicured edge on north and south sides of 86th Street or approximately to top of sloped concrete wall and under power lines on south side
‐ Include area between north and southbound Keystone

  1. Identify invasive species and remove including Mulberry, Hackberry, Honeysuckle, etc.
  2. Contact INDOT to discuss influencing bridge color?
  3. Clean out invasives behind northbound exit ramp guardrail

Preliminary design initial phase (2015) thoughts:

1. See attached plan

Preliminary design future phase thoughts:

  1. Investigate topography for wet areas to create streambed landscape
  2. Incorporate limestone block “welcome to Nora” signs into landscape + accent stone – walls?
  3. Upgrade guardrails to painted – black?
  4. Upgrade signals and signal poles?
  5. Wayfinding – shopping, library, park, school, etc?…there is a N.C. sign on the northbound ramp

Given the scope, this is going to be a longer term project with the hope of having some initial quick wins as the construction wraps up.

Project background:

The Keystone Avenue Bridge at 86th Street, currently under construction, serves as a gateway to the Nora community. However, the bridge, exit ramps, and surrounding land have been neglected for years, collecting trash, invasive plants, and the occasional homeless person camping out in the overgrown wooded areas. With the current construction of the Keystone Bridge, we have an opportunity to give this area a facelift. Read the post “Nora’s 86th St / Keystone Bridge Gateway Beautification Project” for more about the project’s background.

Nora Alliance July 2015 meeting with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful

Nora Keystone Gateway: 1st Meeting with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful

On July 20th, community members met with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc. (KIB) for the Nora Alliance’s first meeting regarding Nora’s Keystone & 86th Street Gateway. This is a summary of that meeting, and invitation for continued public input.

The Keystone Avenue Bridge at 86th Street, currently under construction, serves as a gateway to the Nora community. However, the bridge, exit ramps, and surrounding land have been neglected for years, collecting trash, invasive plants, and the occasional homeless person camping out in the overgrown wooded areas. With the current construction of the Keystone Bridge, we have an opportunity to give this area a facelift. Read the post “Nora’s 86th St / Keystone Bridge Gateway Beautification Project” for more about the project’s background.

KIB’s Mark Adler, Janet Baker, and planner David Roth led the group in a review of the Keystone Bridge construction and opportunities for a beautification project. Mark Adler presented information on the current conditions of the interchange and construction (scheduled for completion in the late fall 2015), followed by an open discussion. Here’s what we heard:

Opportunities
  • current construction remediation requires tree replacement, but without maintenance plans — this is an opportunity to segue with a beautification project and community-driven design
  • community desire to preserve existing tree canopy for noise reduction and wildlife
  • public art – look at concepts and location within the interchange
  • create vegetated edge plantings
  • reduce or eliminate mowings with native platings wildflowers and tall grasses
  • improved signage for the interchange
  • plan / public art that embraces the strengths and weaknesses of the interchange (e.g., power line structures, the community history)
Concerns
  • homelessness, pan handlers and drug use are past and/or current issue
  • open up line of sight at ramp exits / lights
  • honeysuckle in the area (invasive species)
  • traffic noise affecting nearby residential
  • soil may be compressed in construction staging areas
  • don’t create any plans that preclude a future sidewalk / bike path under Keystone Bridge
  • need more community input on gateway concept – gateway to where? Nora community / neighborhoods (west)? Keystone businesses (east)?
Next Steps

KIB, with planner David Roth, will take the feedback they’ve gathered during this first meeting and put together some preliminary plans for the interchange. Within the next few weeks, the Nora Alliance will schedule a second public meeting to present and provide further input to the plans. With plans in hand, KIB will work with the community to identify funding for the project implementation and maintenance.

We welcome continued feedback during this process! If you would like to provide additional input while the plans are being developed, please contact Mark Adler, KIB Director of Special Projects.

 

 

 

Tree Planting Plan - 1-29-15

Nora’s 86th St / Keystone Bridge Gateway Beautification Project

What would a nice gateway to Nora look like? With your help, we will work with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful to answer that question.

The Keystone Avenue Bridge at 86th Street, currently under construction, serves as a gateway to the Nora community. However, the bridge, exit ramps, and surrounding land have been neglected for years, collecting trash, invasive plants, and the occasional homeless person camping out in the overgrown wooded areas. With the construction of the Keystone Bridge, we have an opportunity to give this area a facelift.

Project Background
Keep Indianapolis Beautiful was contacted a few times in the past year or two by neighbors in the Nora community asking if they could do anything to help with beautifying the ugly Keystone Bridge at 86th Street interchange. They were exploring the idea, then the bridge construction came up offering some opportunity to get engaged. The Nora Alliance will organize two community meetings in mid-July and August to help Keep Indianapolis Beautiful gather input on design plans for the interchange, with the following objectives:
  • to engage the Nora community in proactive planning with the assistance of Keep Indianapolis Beautiful
  • to help address the homeless population that are living in this area from time to time
  • to meet the community wants and needs with a design based on community input
  • to determine what gets put in place in areas that have already been cleared by the construction process
  • to determine how to maintain wildlife / greenspace as desired by the community
  • to determine a tree maintenance plan so newly planted trees are maintained and thrive after construction crew is gone (these do not otherwise have a maintenance plan, and trees often die after the construction phase)
  • to work with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful to help in the planning and design phase, and then in seeking funding to implement the plan

The goal for the July meeting is for a designer to capture what is important to the community at this space so a design can be created. The goal for the August meeting is for the designer to come back with a rough drawing capturing feedback from July and gather final feedback before getting a solid plan to go forth with.

Dates and times for the meetings are still being determined. Feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns about the project. Stay tuned for more information!

Off-street trail in Nora, Indianapolis

Nora’s College Avenue Trail Approved and Funded

We learned this week that the College Avenue Trail in Nora has been funded as part of the RebuildIndy 2 projects. While the project was originally approved, it lost its funding and was cancelled last winter. Recent funding was acquired and the project was again added to the list of approved projects announced last week.

The project will provide a safe pedestrian off-street trail along this often congested section of College Ave. that has no sidewalks or shoulder.

RebuildIndy is Mayor Greg Ballard’s initiative to restore deteriorating streets, sidewalks and bridges as well as address neighborhood drainage and flooding issues. This investment continues to transform neighborhoods throughout Indianapolis.

Getting an off-street pedestrian trail or new sidewalks in a community can take years of hard work. Indeed, for the past 3- to 4- years several people in Nora have been advocating for an off-street trail along College Avenue between 86th Street and 91st Street. Some of the people involved in spearheading the trail include George Robinson, former athletic director at First Baptist Church, Barry Wood, and members of Hope Church. It serves as an example of what community pro-active planning can achieve.

Early details on the project are provided by Benjamin Easley, Public Information Officer / Department of Public Works:

  • This project will indeed be bid for construction in July and completely built by the end of the year.
  • The College Avenue Trail will be an off-street asphalt trail similar to the one on 91stStreet.  The trail on 91st Street narrows down to a sidewalk at 91st/College
  • There will be a crosswalk connection at the signal at 91st/College.
  • The College Ave trail will be on the west side of the road.
  • There will be pedestrian signals at 86th/College as well as 91st/College.

Thanks to ReBuildIndy, DPW, and all the people involved in making this trail happen.

Indiana daylight savings time map eastern vs. central time zone

How Is Your Morning? It Would Be Brighter On Central Time

If you awoke (in the dark), got your kids off to the bus stop (in the dark), made it to work (in the dark), and thought to yourself (in the dark), “I really hate this Daylight Savings Time,” you might just be a fan of Hoosiers for Central Time and the Central Time Coalition.

You see, it’s not necessarily Daylight Savings Time to blame, rather that we observe Eastern Daylight Savings Time instead of Central Daylight Savings Time (Indiana’s geographically correct time).

The mission of the Central Time Coalition is to promote the allocation of available sunlight and darkness in a manner that provides the greatest peace, safety and well-being to the citizens of Indiana. Specifically, the coalition supports Central Standard Time in winter and Central Daylight Time the remainder of the year. Their website is a call to action to the Indiana legislature to finish the job and get Indiana on the “right” time. It is packed with facts about the impact of Eastern time on Indiana, links to studies, and an online petition to show your support Hoosiers for Central Time (also on twitter).

The graph below compares how many sunrises Indianapolis would have before 7am on Eastern time (120 days) versus Central time (315 days).

sunrise graph Indiana daylight savings time comparison

Sunrise before 7am

 

Whether you are a fan of daylight savings time or not, some humor might help you going in the early morning darkness. Here’s comedian John Oliver ripping Daylight Saving Time on HBO’s Last Week Tonight.

KeystoneBridge

Road Construction: Keystone Ave. Bridge Over 86th St.

The Indianapolis Department of Public Works (DPW) is planning a bridge maintenance project for Keystone Avenue over 86th Street. The project includes improvements to the existing north- and south-bound bridges and approaches.

The existing bridge super and substructure will remain in place. The bridge deck will be removed and replaced (and widened). DPW indicated Keystone Avenue will remain open, with lane restrictions throughout the project.

Estimated Start Date: April 14th, 2015
Estimated Completion Date: October 2015

New bridge railings will be installed, of similar style as existing. No work on the 86th St. underpass is included in the project. DPW staff have indicated that the existing structure does not preclude future 86th St. pedestrian access that may be developed by other projects.

About RebuildIndy

RebuildIndy is Mayor Greg Ballard’s initiative to restore deteriorating streets, sidewalks and bridges as well as address neighborhood drainage and flooding issues. This investment continues to transform neighborhoods throughout Indianapolis.

These projects create local jobs and increase public safety for neighborhoods and residents, which supports Mayor Ballard’s commitment to make Indianapolis a more livable city.

For more information:

RebuildIndy Project Information RebuildIndy@indy.gov
(317) 327-2656 • www.indy.gov/RebuildIndy

planindyparks

If You Could Design Nora’s Future Parks…

What would it look like?

Indy Parks Begins 5-Yr Master Planning: Washington Township

On March 4th, 2015, Indy Parks kicked off their master planning process for Washington Township. While the master plan will be for the entire city, their approach will be to look at each township individually.

Now is the time to get involved in the process for Washington Township!

Indy Parks Master Plan

The parks department evaluates the path their extensive park system will take every five years. The goal of this project is to engage the community, leadership and stakeholders in a meaningful and innovative public input process to build a shared vision for parks and recreation that supports the economic and community goals of the City of Indianapolis. PROS Consulting is a nationally recognized firm, headquartered in Indianapolis and will lead Indy Parks to a great sustainable plan to move forward.

The duration of the project from start to finish is 10 months with an anticipated completion date by December 2015.

This is a community-input driven process and the outcome and future recommendations will be driven by the needs and vision articulated by the community members.

Through the ‘Participate’ section on the Plan Indy Parks website – www.planindyparks.com, you can provide open ended suggestions, respond to the online survey, know the dates for open public meetings and even share feedback through social media on Facebook and Twitter.

lightcafe

Light Cafe

The Light Cafe is a public cafe, run by the students of the J. Everett Light (JEL) Center!

When you eat at the Light Cafe, you are directly supporting the Culinary Arts program at North Central High School – J.Everett Light Center. Here students learn Advanced Culinary Techniques, Protein Fabrication, Artisanal Breads, Regional Desserts, Global Cuisine, Restaurant/Hotel Management, and Entrepreneurship.

The JEL Light Cafe is located at 1901 E. 86th Street, on the east side of JEL (adjoining North Central High School). As you pull into the JEL campus, go around the parking lot and follow signs towards the back of JEL. You will see designated parking signs for the Light Cafe.

The Light Cafe is open to the public during the school year on Wednesdays and Thursdays of each week.  The hours are 7:30 AM – 1:00 PM with breakfast and lunch menus available for dining in or carry out. Menus change regularly – see the Light Cafe website for the latest menu.

 

Photo credit: Light Cafe website

daubpark-dcnp

Daubenspeck Community Nature Park

Daubenspeck Community Nature Park is a rare, green-space haven of approximately 22 acres at 8900 Ditch Road in Nora. The park is approximately 22 acres and consists of a 14-acre tall -grass prairie, 1 acre of emergent wetlands, 7 acres of forested riparian habitat.

You’ll be welcomed by mowed grass trails, benches to rest, peaceful woods, open prairie, bridges and boardwalks to traverse the creek and wetlands. There is a parking area to leave your car, an observation deck, and more.  The features here are designed to help you get closer to nature and enjoy your visit, without disturbing the habitat.

The park is named after a local a farmer named Peter Daubenspeck who owned a lot of land near West 86th Street and Ditch Road in Indianapolis.  While he sold parts of his farm which became neighborhoods like North Willow Farms, Mr. Daubenspeck decided to set aside the plot at 8900 Ditch for the benefit of the public, and gave it to the schools.

Since the student enrollment in the Metropolitan School District of Washington Township had been relatively stable since the mid 1990’s, and the 15 acre field was too small to build a new school, the MSDWT considered selling the land for development.  But the taxpayers of Washington Township cried out to save the land as one of the very rare remaining green spaces left in that township.

In 2005, the MSDWT School Board decided not to sell the land, and the neighborhoods and community formed an IRS 501-c-3 charitable non-profit
organization to manage it as a nature park. The organization maintains a rich website with tons of great information about the park and natural features, as well as transparency in its organizational documents.

It’s free and open to the public year round, dawn to dusk.

DCNP Inc. is a charitable, non-profit
(IRS 501-C-3) funded by individual donations,
corporate support, and grants.  Donations are
tax-deductible.

Photo credit: Daubpark website

AlWoodPlace-jss

Al Wood Place

This humble micro park in the heart of Nora is a perfect spot to take a quick break. Al Wood Place is located on 86th Street just across from the fire department. It is the namesake of Mr. Al Wood, Nora Northside Community Council (NCC) director emeritus, and the everyday superhero who fought to have the unsightly and hazardous “Nora Branch open ditch” piped and covered. Since the park’s creation, NCC Board members have planted flower beds and trees and now, as a covenant of membership, patrol it monthly to keep it litter-free. Next door neighbor CVS Drugs acts as a partner with NCC by providing grass maintenance and sprinkling.

Learn more about what Al Wood Place once was – and wasn’t – in this nicely researched article from Historic Indianapolis, The Curious Case of Al Wood Place.