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‘Quality of Life’ plan adopted for near east side community

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Plans to improve the quality of life on the near east side are about ready to be rolled out.

It’s been in the works for about a year and a half, and the city recently approved it. It’s been more than a dozen years since a plan like this was put into motion. Plan developers specifically looked to Black, Spanish-speaking and senior community members to develop the plan.

For 20 years, Greg Pipes has made a home in this near east side neighborhood. Like so many others who’ve lived here for decades, he’s seen a lot.

“A whole lot changed for the good and a lot has changed for the bad,” said Pipes.

He’s one of the estimated 28,000 people in this community expected to see changes under the newly adopted Near Eastside Quality of Life plan. It’ll focus on nine areas, including economic development, housing, safety, education, arts and culture.

“The purpose is definitely to hear from the community and to make sure that all of the funding and all of the different projects are guided by what the community is saying,” Ellen Bankston, a community builder with the John Bonner Neighborhood Center, said.

Pipes said it’s a great plan. But he’s often seen plans never actually materialize.

“I’m very thankful steps are being taken I just hope to see them,” he said.

Bankston said they are putting an added focus on community engagement. They are recruiting community action team members to help direct the nine focus areas of the plan. The purpose: Have thorough leadership, accountability and resident-led projects.

“So that will allow people to engage a little bit more deeply and they will also kind of be the final arbiter of action items being added and remove from each section,” Bankston said.