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Local leaders trying to recruit businesses along East Washington

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For one day, a block of East Washington Street near Rural Street will be transformed with businesses that don’t currently exist in the area. It’s part of an experiment to explore the community’s potential.

Local officials would like to see the area permanently changed and for people to enjoy more amenities.

“East Washington street is a (staple) and important part of our city. It’s a place that we just think is vital for the success -not only of our neighborhood- but for the city of Indianapolis as a whole,” Joe Bowling said.

Bowling is the director of the East Washington Street Partnership for Englewood CDC. He would like to see the area transformed permanently.

“Once you get a chance to see what a place can be and see it with new eyes, that’s when special things really start to happen,” Bowling said.

The block will be transformed on June 8. People will be able to enjoy the temporary business block between 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. The Pizza Hut located along East Washington Street will be turned into an Italian restaurant. There will be sidewalk cafes and a farmers market too.

“Obviously there’s room to grow and there’s plenty of things that need to happen to make it what we want it to be, but that’s what we’re working on,” Bowling said.

The transformation will become a reality thanks to the Better Block program. This will be the first one in Indianapolis.

Andrew Howard is part of the program. He met with local leaders, Friday afternoon, to go over their designs.

“The hope for all these projects is that eventually it will become permanent, but instead of sinking all this investment into it and all this money and dollars into it, you can temporarily envision what it will look like and you can see the downsides to things and you can actually change things,” said Tom Streit, Big Car Director of Neighborhood Happiness.