INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Jan. 29, 2015) - A guided bus tour highlighted the potential opportunity and challenges on the Southside of Indianapolis. Neighborhood stakeholders sat next to investors as the bus made its way through the Gateway South business district and neighborhoods like University Heights.
"It was great because this is what we've been trying to get more attention to the area," said Elyse Kintner, President of the South Village Neighborhood Association.
Revitalization efforts will be bolstered with a study focusing on the quality of life on Indy's Southside. The comprehensive study is designed to spark economic development and strengthen the community.
Fifth Third Bank is supporting the study with a $100,000 quality of life grant. The University of Indianapolis and Local Initiatives Support Corporation have agreed to raise an additional $70,000 to support the process.
"This is all about getting educated and understanding what we can bring to the table, not only as a bank but also all the organizations that are part of this," said Steven Alonso, President and CEO of Fifth Third Bank's Greater Indiana Region.
The study focuses on 4.25 square miles bounded by Raymond Street, I-65, I-465 and Meridian Street. There are about 40,000 people live inside that designed area. Statistics show the challenges inside the study area with more than 20% of people living in poverty, a 9.4% unemployment rate and 2,600 vacant properties.
"So we'd like to see the community walkable, alternative transportation, places where folks can go to get a cup of coffee, get something to drink and where other people will say that's a good place for me to take a risk if I want to start my small business in this area. And so this whole thing is to try and make sure everybody in the community is speaking with one voice as to what is needed," said Dr. David Wantz, President for Government and Community Relations at the University of Indianapolis.