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Leveling decades of crime at Towne and Terrace will take time

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An excavator on Friday took about 30 minutes to tear down one of the housing units at Towne and Terrace, but it took years of crime, drugs, absentee owners and government intervention to get this point.

Liz Durden, the president of the Towne and Terrace homeowners’ association, told I-Team 8, “I have seen the best and now basically it is at its worst, and it is not pretty at all.”

Since she was a kid, Durden had dreamed of living in this complex just south of the intersection of 42nd Street and Post Road. That was before the crime and drugs, and before absentee owners rented their condos to anyone. Today, she stands just a few yards from a building being torn down and is helping lead the charge to have the entire complex demolished.

“It feels good that I know people are going to be able to be replaced, relocated, and it is equitable for all of us involved, the owners and the renters,” Durden said. 

The Indianapolis city government owns 106 units and still need to buy another 152 to completely demolish the property. The city is offering owners up to 150% of fair market value for owner-occupants of condominiums.

Durden and other owners will get to choose another comparable place to live, and the city will pay a portion of the difference.

I-Team 8 found condos that sold in the past year for $15,000. The first unit torn down Friday morning had an assessed value of $20,000, according to Marion County property records.

Renters occupy most units at Towne and Terrace. The city is offering them 42 months of rental assistance.

Aryn Schounce of the Indianapolis Department of Metropolitan Development, said, “So if they are paying $500 a month now but to get into a similar unit, it would be $1,000. They would receive that benefit, a differential of the $500 basically, for 42 months paid in three installments.”

The six units torn down Friday morning were just a small portion of the work ahead.

I-Team 8 was told language barriers exist, and not everyone in the complex is 100% on board with the city’s plan. If an owner refuses to sell, the city could use eminent domain.

Durden knows the time has come to move on. “But it is bittersweet, because I am Brentwood. This has been my home since ’89. I mean it is like starting all over. I’m looking forward to it, but, still, I wish I could have stayed here, kept everything up, but it is just my wishes.”

The city government hopes to have Towne and Terrace leveled by the end of 2024. After that, the city government will work with Far Eastside neighbors to redevelop the area.

This story was updated to correct the percentage offered to people who own and occupy their condominiums. Also, the city’s next step after demolition was included.

Previous coverage

News release

INDIANAPOLIS – Today Mayor Joe Hogsett joined City-County Councillor La Keisha Jackson and community members to highlight the next steps for the Towne and Terrace housing complex and demolish a vacant city-owned building at the site. Originally built over 60 years ago, Towne and Terrace now contains severely dilapidated buildings and experiences persistent illegal drug activity and gun violence.

“‘This will be welcome news for anyone familiar with the health and safety issues that have burdened this property for decades – from abandoned and dilapidated units, to an uncaring HOA, to the drug dealing and deadly violence that came in their wake,’ said Mayor Hogsett. ‘Finally, we are able to move forward to get residents the proper housing and safe conditions they deserve.’

“The announcement represents the next steps for the property following the resolution of the City’s long-standing legal dispute with the complex’s homeowners association. After reaching a settlement last fall, the City conducted extensive outreach to neighbors living onsite. Last weekend, the City informed residents that it would use a plan conceived by a court-appointed receiver to acquire all remaining properties in the complex and demolish them.

“Because the City will use a combination of local and federal dollars to fund the project, the acquisition and relocation process will be guided by the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Act (URA), which requires specific regulations be followed when federal funds are used to acquire property and relocate residents. All eligible residents will receive relocation advisory services as well as financial assistance. In addition, the City has two Community Engagement Specialists dedicated to connecting Towne and Terrace residents with community-based services and resources aimed at supporting their transition to a new home. Additional information about the process is available here.

“‘Today, the residents of Towne and Terrace are closer to a brighter and better future than they ever have been before,’ said Councillor La Keisha Jackson, District 14. ‘That has been made possible by hard work and extensive engagement with residents. I would like to thank Mayor Hogsett and the Department of Metropolitan Development for working together with me to create a safer and stronger community.’

“Phase 1, consisting of approximately 76 properties, will begin in Spring 2023 with property acquisitions and relocation assistance for impacted residents beginning in Summer/Fall 2023. Phases 2 and 3, consisting of approximately 76 properties, will begin in early 2024 with property acquisitions and relocation assistance for impacted residents beginning in Spring/Summer 2024.

“Following the full demolition of the site, the City will work with Far Eastside neighbors to envision a community-driven redevelopment of the area.

“Residents and owners of Towne and Terrace are encouraged to contact Community Engagement Specialists by emailing”

From Mark Bode, communications director, mayor’s office, via email at 3:40 p.m. April 28, 2023