Indianapolis to invest $3.5M into Martindale-Brightwood revitalization

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Millions of dollars are being invested into what the city calls one of its most struggling neighborhoods.

A total of $3.5 million will be invested into Martindale-Brightwood over the next three years as part of the Lift Indy program. Martindale-Brightwood is the second neighborhood to be inducted into this program in 2021, joining the Near North Corridor.

With the toll the coronavirus pandemic has taken on neighborhoods across Indianapolis, city leaders say it was necessary to expand this program. No neighborhood in Indianapolis was hit harder than the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood during the pandemic, according to SAVI, which uses data to improve planning and decision-making and ultimately improve the quality of life in communities. SAVI is a program of The Polis Center at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

“IUPUI SAVI program have estimated that the 46218 ZIP code, including the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood, was more heavily impacted than any other ZIP code across Indianapolis,” said Zach Adamson, vice president of the Indianapolis City-County Council.

The neighborhood is roughly bordered by East 30th Street to the north, North Sherman Drive to the east, Massachusetts Avenue to the south, and the Monon Trail to the west. The neighborhood includes Frederick Douglass Park, JTV Hill Park, and the I-70 interchange at North Rural Street and North Keystone Avenue.

Mayor Joe Hogsett said, “Lift Indy aims to provide a strategic boost to our neighborhoods.”

Some of the programs included in Lift Indy 2021 are homeownership opportunities for at least 10 low-income households, career coaching, and home repair.

Barato Britt, president and chief executive officer of the Edna Martin Christian Center, said, “Our goal is simply to make sure that the residents that are struggling mildly, as Councilor Adamson said, through a pandemic are still gained every opportunity and access that they need to make sure that they are able to remain in our community to live in this community and a safe community.”

In recent years, the city has launched different programs in the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood. The efforts have focused on cutting down crime and working to improve overall quality of life in the area.

Britt said, “With this project, we believe that our efforts to transform the community will be accelerated in ways that the community will see for some time.”

Now that some of the systemic struggles have been addressed, city leaders say, it is time to also start investing in the physical struggles as well.

“So, many of them are living in unsafe and dangerous homes because about 75% (of them) in Martindale-Brightwood were built over 50 years ago,” said Amina Pierson, executive director for the Martindale-Brightwood Community Development Corp.

People could start applying for programs in 2022. To apply, people will reach out directly to the community partner hosting the specific program:

  • Martindale-Brightwood Education Zone Housing Village Initiative will be led by the Edna Martin Christian Center. The initiative will provide wraparound services and programming such as employment and career coaching, financial coaching, credit and asset-building programs, and adult education programs.
  • Martindale-Brightwood Community Development Corp. will lead the Homeowner Repair Program to provide resources to long-term residents for roofing and gutter repairs; for sidewalk, porch and patio repair; for accessibility; for siding repair and replacement; for window repair and replacement; for insulation; and for heating, ventilation and air-conditioning replacement and repair.
  • Renew Indianapolis will preserve affordable housing for homeowners through the Edge Fund-Mortgage Refinance Loan Program, which will enable long-term residents to continue to enjoy their neighborhood.
  • Renew Indianapolis will lead the Edge Fund-Affordable Mortgage Loan Program, which will help make homeownership more attainable through below-market rate mortgage loans for up to 10 low-to moderate income homebuyers in the neighborhood.
  • Renew Indianapolis will lead the New Construction Homeownership Program that will create homeownership opportunities for at least 10 low-income households.