INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Today Mayor Hogsett will help break ground on the new Teachers Village just South of 10th and Rural streets.
They are building 21 new and rehabbed three-bedroom homes located one mile east of downtown. This initiative is an effort to attract educators from both Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) and Mayor Sponsored Charter Schools (MSCS) to live in the urban areas in which they are serving students. The neighborhood was one of the first Indianapolis suburbs but saw a decline in the 50s and 60s, Near East Area Renewal (NEAR) wants to bring it back.
Their website says they are fighting blight, spurring economic regeneration, cultivating livable-wage work, creating walkability and connectivity, all within a stone’s throw of downtown. Leaders say they want to develop the community as they invest, restore and build, putting neighbors first.
NEAR wants to give people the power to change their neighborhood. NEAR offers a “how-to” printout of the step-by-step actions to take.
If you’re interested in buying a home go to NEAR’s website where they list developing properties.
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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — On Tuesday, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett called a program that helps provide teenagers with summer jobs a success.
Now in its second year, Hogsett said the program Project Indy employed about 2,000 teens.
Some of the teenagers were hired by IndyParks.
The kids worked on projects like painting, resurfacing parking lots and mulching and landscaping at 15 different parks.
The program will wrap up Friday.This story has been corrected. The headline had erroneously called the program TeenWorks, a program established in 1981 by Indiana philanthropist Gene Glick. Project Indy helps many community and nonprofit partners with funds, grants and promotion; TeenWorks is one of those.
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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett plans to review and revamp the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s training and use of force practices in the wake of the Aaron Bailey shooting. He announced a series of changes at a Friday morning news conference.
The FBI and IMPD are still investigating whether police broke the law when they shot and killed Bailey in late June. Hogsett, however, said it’s not too soon to make policy changes.
The mayor plans to bring in nationally recognized experts to “train the trainers” within IMPD on how to avoid racial bias.
He’ll also create a Use of Force Review Board to review any incident where an officer uses force.
Hogsett plans to open an IMPD Office of Diversity to track local trends and adjust accordingly. He said he will bring in legal experts to help revamp IMPD training.
The mayor also plans on inviting community and faith leaders to review the Citizens Police Complaint Board and make sure it’s fair.
He announced the changes side-by-side with IMPD chief Bryan Roach and deputy mayor David Hampton.
“This effort will be the first of its kind in the entire country,” Hogsett said.
The changes were announced after two weeks of pushback in the wake of the Aaron Bailey shooting. Police said Bailey, a black man who was unarmed, drove away from IMPD in the middle of a traffic stop and eventually crashed after a short chase.
Officers said they saw Bailey reach for his center console as they approached his car. Two officers-one white and one biracial-fired at Bailey and it’s not clear which shot killed him. A woman who was in the car with Bailey was preliminary charged with possession of paraphernalia.
The Indianapolis Congregation Network, or IndyCAN, organized a “Justice for Aaron Bailey” rally the day after the shooting.
Rev. Juard Barnes of IndyCAN said he’s “excited and hopeful” after the mayor’s Friday morning announcement.
“I think it will help dramatically,” Barnes said. “I think it’s a great start and I think we’re going to keep fighting for all the things it will take to get it done.”
Barnes said he doesn’t know whether police showed racial bias when they shot Bailey, but he’s praising Roach and Hogsett for getting the FBI involved.
“I heard a lot of anger over the last couple of weeks,” Roach said. “I heard a lot of fear. It’s our responsibility to try and diminish both the anger and the fear.”
IMPD does not use body cameras and police said there is no video of the Bailey shooting. Hogsett said he’s still reviewing his 2018 budget and he would not say Friday whether it will include money for body cameras.
“Body cams, dash cams, all of that would be great. But at what cost?” Hogsett said. “It’s difficult to provide everyone with body cams.”
City leaders said the changes are in the planning stages. They did not provide a date on when the changes will go into effect.Watch the entire press conference here:
The Fraternal Order of Police released the following statement after hearing the Hogsett’s proposals:
“We look forward to learning additional details of the concepts outlined by the Mayor today.
Issues of mutual trust and respect between officers and the public are paramount to our collective membership. That is why we have proactively advocated for and participated in efforts that address the opportunities for enhancement of that relationship throughout our Indianapolis community.
The FOP in collaboration with our Chief of Police and members of our community has been working on many of these topics for quite some time.
We look forward to continued dialogue and productive engagement by everyone involved.
As we continue our progress, we appreciate the ongoing support of our residents and visitors for our police department which is made up of women and men who never waver in their commitment to protect our neighborhoods and the multiple events hosted within our City.
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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – “It’s My City.” That’s the name of an initiative meant to cleanup Indianapolis.
Tuesday morning Mayor Joe Hogsett joined members of the community to pick up trash in the Riverside-United Northwest neighborhood.
It’s part of a three-year plan designed to bring community members together and also to make improvements in the city.
The “It’s My City” initiative will have a new focus each year.
This year is the year of clean.
Every month groups of people will help cleanup neighborhoods across Indianapolis.
For more on this story, click on the video.
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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) –The plan was to transform the old City Hall building into a boutique hotel. Now the project’s developers are backing off and city leaders are looking for a new plan.
21c Museum Hotels released a statement saying the city and the company “have been unable to reach business terms that make a 21c Museum Hotel project feasible at this site.”
Craig Greenberg, President of 21c Museum Hotels, won’t disclose the numbers but he says the project was a greater financial commitment than his company initially thought.
“While it’s a wonderful and gorgeous building, it’s also fairly inefficient for modern uses,” Greenberg said. “To make that transformation, it was going to be a larger and more complicated project than I think either the city or us realized.”
It’s been two years since then-Mayor Greg Ballard unveiled the idea to turn the 107-year-old building into a boutique hotel, a restaurant and an art museum.
Today, the only sounds of construction come from the other downtown developments near Alabama and Ohio Streets.
Mayor Joe Hogsett’s Chief of Staff, Thomas Cook, said the city is putting the property back up for bids with hopes to announce a new partner by the end of this year. The bid could be for a hotel project or something entirely different.
“If another great idea comes along that makes more sense for taxpayers and for that neighborhood, we’re obviously going to be excited about whatever that idea is,” Cook said.
Cook said he’s hoping 21c will reconsider, but Greenberg said the company has no plans to submit another request for proposal on the site.
City County Councillor Vop Osili says he wishes 21c’s project could stay alive, but he’s not discouraged.
“The bar has been raised pretty high now,” Osili said. “A few years ago, there wasn’t anything here. What we see right now and what we hear, the bustling and the construction in the background, is in anticipation of more vibrancy.”
City leaders said when they do find a developer, they’re open to providing incentives and partnering with the developer. The details would be worked out at a later date, according to Cook.
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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH)-Mayor Joe Hogsett said Wednesday he is “cautiously optimistic” that the Rexnord Corporation will keep 350 jobs in west Indianapolis.
That’s not stopping him from coming up with a backup plan after the company announced tentative plans to move its west Indy operation to Mexico to save money.
Hogsett met with union representatives and city leaders before holding a news conference Wednesday.
The mayor said the task force he created to help Carrier workers will expand to help Rexnord workers. He also announced plans to use federal grant money to hire a full time Economic Recovery Coordinator.
The new employee will be prepared to help Rexnord and Carrier workers find jobs and workforce training.
“What we’re really talking about is 350 families. Not jobs. But also families,” Hogsett said.
Hogsett said he offered to fly to Rexnord’s corporate offices to meet face-to-face, but company leaders never told him to book a flight.
After the meeting, union leader and 43-year Rexnord worker Don Zering shared a request for company leaders.
“Tell me face-to-face, what did I do wrong? What did 350 people do wrong?” Zering said. “You’re treating us like we’re just a number.”
Zering and other employees praised Hogsett for the steps he announced Wednesday.
Hogsett said it will be at least two weeks before Rexnord makes a final decision.
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A new center for those experiencing homelessness will soon open in Indianapolis. The Reuben Engagement Center is designed for people who can’t get into a typical shelter due to mental illness or substance abuse.
The goal is to keep them out of the criminal justice system and instead provide resources for long-term rehab and support.
The center is still under construction. Mayor Joe Hogsett and other city and county leaders toured the Reuben Engagement Center on Monday.
Once open, it will be staffed with medical professionals including EMTs, CNAs and LPNs. Those employees will work with both private and non-profit agencies to get care for people who often have nowhere else to go.
Mayor Hogsett said this model is the first of its kind in Indianapolis.
“A model that says we shouldn’t continue to ask taxpayers to pay for a seemingly endless cycle of punishment aimed at those suffering from mental illness and addiction,” said Mayor Hogsett.
The facility is scheduled to open sometime over the next few months.
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The City-County County has approved a budget for 2017.
According to a release, the budget was passed with help and input from the both parties, the Mayor’s Office and the community.
Council President Maggie Lewis said the agreement reduces the deficit by $14 million.
Following the announcement of passage of the 2017 budget Mayor Hogestt released the following statement:
I want to thank forward-thinking members of the City-County Council for their bipartisan support of a bold new approach to fiscal responsibility in Indianapolis.
As a result of this vote, Indianapolis will recruit 86 new police officers, increase city support for crime prevention programming, and make substantial investments in our neighborhoods. Most importantly, we will do all of this while cutting the budget, reducing the structural deficit and protecting our Rainy Day Fund – without asking for one dime more from Indianapolis taxpayers.
I am appreciative of the leadership shown by President Maggie Lewis over the last two months, who, along with caucus leadership and committee chairs, helped send a unified message to residents that city government has truly embraced the call to do more with less on behalf of the taxpayers we serve.
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett presented a budget to the city-county council Monday night that will reduce the city’s financial deficit – and eventually – its workforce.
While layoffs and furloughs appear to be unlikely, according to the mayor’s staffers who briefed reporters, Hogsett’s administration is prepared to announce its plan to “smart-size” the city – eliminating hundreds of positions that are not essential to government function.
The process will be done strictly through attrition by not filling open positions when someone from city government leaves or retires.
The process could eliminate hundreds of positions within city government but will help with the overall goal of reducing the city’s structural deficit, which is historically around $50 million annually, Hogsett staffers told reporters.
Under Hogsett’s proposed budget, many positions – or their responsibilities – could be reassigned or restructured through closer examination of the department’s processes to see if any “duplicative roles” can be eliminated, the staffers briefed on the budget told reporters.
The attrition effort will only affect city government departments, not those controlled by the county.
During a budget briefing held Monday afternoon, the mayor’s chief of staff, Thomas Cook, told reporters that the mayor doesn’t necessarily think that a reduction in workforce “equates to a reduction in services.”
“Hundreds of jobs won’t be back-filled,” Cook said.
The plan also calls for restructuring the benefits packages for new city hires starting in 2017. Hogsett staffers said that this change in retirement benefits will save millions for the city.
City Controller Fady Qaddoura told reporters that on average, the city of Indianapolis takes in less money than it spends.
“This is not sustainable and we need a new strategy,” he told reporters during a briefing. “What we are looking at this as a three-year strategy.”
In years past, Qaddoura said the city government has relied on one-time influxes of cash to help balance the city’s books – like it did in 2011 with sale of the water company.
The problem is, Qaddoura and Cook admit, the city doesn’t have any major assets it can sell to help make up for the historically $50 million annual deficit. As a result, the Hogsett administration has been forced to ask departments do more with less.
“People have to come us and asked for money and we’ve told them ‘No,'” Cook said, describing an oversimplified process by which savings have already been achieved.
Hogsett’s staffers said that next year’s budget will mark the first time in years that the mayor is appropriating less money than the year before. How much less? The proposed budget calls for decreasing spending by $12.7 million.
Through a complicated process of asking departments to spend less, paying down debt service with tax increment finance funds and achieving a one-time influx of $13 million in state money, the Hogsett administration says it has been able to reduce the city’s structural deficit by $23.8 million.
So what does the budget include?
The capital projects appear to be austere and include funding of basic services – as well as some equipment upgrades – for police, fire and EMS.
Among the highlights provided by the mayor’s office:
- CAD system for IMPD and data-drive public safety
- Construct two IFD stations
- Police cruisers/ fire apparatus
- $5 million in Parks funding
- Solid waste trucks and equipment
- Voting equipment
Chief Ernest Malone told I-Team 8 that his budget calls for replacing aging fire stations in Fountain Square and Franklin township. The move comes after his department announced a restructuring plan earlier this that shuttered the doors on Fire Station 16 in Broad Ripple and consolidating it into Station 32.
The budget plan also calls for hiring 86 new IMPD officers.
It also includes a four-year plan to fund $200 million worth of transportation projects. But when I-Team 8 brought up the fact that the city’s current infrastructure repair needs are closer to $1.5 billion, Qaddoura admitted that the city simply doesn’t have the money to find the city’s entire need.
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – IMPD now says its newly instated beat system helped with the agency’s largest operation in history.
Over the weekend police arrested 26 people in a sweep. 150 local, state, and federal officers took part in the operation.
The round-up was dubbed Operation First Step. They said it was only possible because of the steps they take everyday.
“We’re here for good and bad so if we can help you we will and celebrate the good things too,” said Southwest District Commander Michael Spears while walking the Haughville neighborhood Monday afternoon. “There hasn’t been a place that we’ve been today where they haven’t seen officers already, where they don’t have a relationship with officers, and that’s the kind of thing we want to continue within the district.”
“As much contact as we have with the community is better for us because they’re more open to let us know what’s going on in their community and knowing that information helps us keep the crime down,” said Officer Carlos Trincado.
The beat system started after Mayor Joe Hogsett took office in January. But with the raids complete, they said they’re looking to the root of the crime.
“This is short-term, that’s what happens when you do something like this, but we’re looking at long-term success, so we need to keep the pressure on the police department and we’re never going to be successful if we don’t have the community support,” said IMPD Chief Troy Riggs.
One of the places they visited Monday was La Posado Mexican restaurant on Washington Street.
“Thank you, thank you for taking care of us,” said Marina Robledo, restaurant owner. “We never know what’s going to happen, so we’re glad for people like them.”
“Building trust, that’s the main thing and that’s what we’ve been working on in the southwest district,” said officer. Trincado.
And with the summer here, officials said there will be more beat patrol.
“It’s time to send a very important message to those who do want to sell and trade in guns in acts of violence or pursue the drug trade, that they know very clearly that they may be coming because IMPD is going to be watching,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett.
IMPD said they’ll have increased patrols on the weekends this summer.
They also said they’d have more of these raids over the next few months.