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Martindale-Brightwood leaders break ground on ‘affordable’ townhomes

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Martindale-Brightwood community leaders have kicked off a plan to redevelop the Indianapolis community one block at a time.

A groundbreaking was Friday at the site for six townhomes on a lot in the 2400 block of North Rural Street. That’s just north of the I-70 interchange for Keystone Avenue and Rural Street.

The Garden Townhome development has been in the works for three years, and representatives say Indiana ranks high on the list when it comes to out-of-state property owners. So, a major part of the plan includes rebuilding the neighborhood without replacing the residents.

A lot can change in 56 years, and Elizabeth Gore has been in Martindale-Brightwood to see it all. “I am excited right this moment,” Gore said at the groundbreaking.

She and others are looking forward to the next chapter in the community’s story. “This kind of rebuild. I am so excited. That is right in our community, and that it’s going to give people the opportunity to have ownership.”

Longtime resident Terry Triplett attended the groundbreaking. “I wanted to see it firsthand myself. That’s why I came over here. That is not just talk. They are actually doing it.”

The Martindale Brightwood Community Development Corp. has worked three years to bring this project to life. A long list of donors helped make it possible.

Amina Pierson, executive director of the Martindale Brightwood Community Development Corp., said, “We want mixed income; that is the best thing for community. So, we have to balance it out where we can keep some affordable housing, preserve it, and then have some new stock.”

There’s also a lot of community investment. Quincy Murphy grew up in the community and started his real estate development business, Shift Development Group, in the neighborhood. His business is building the townhomes.

“Very critical because this neighborhood, like a lot of communities in the city, is greatly impacted by poverty and a lot of other systemic things that providing affordable housing helps to address,” Murphy said.

As the community copes with long-standing disparities, other problems are growing. “There has been a rise in real estate grab-ups,” Pierson said. “Most people experience things coming in the mail to buy their homes and it’s not for sale, and actually Indianapolis is the city with the most out-of-state landlords.”

Rebuilding doesn’t stop with the plans announced Friday; other funding is available to make repairs to other homes along the same block.