INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – For way too long, not only was the abandoned house at 1136 East 19th Street an eyesore but it was dangerous too as IMPD took 14 runs to the address during the first half of last year and 171 runs to the immediate vicinity in the King Park neighborhood.
“It was just a common nuisance as far as drugs, violence, aggravated assaults,” said IMPD Captain David Hensley. “If they were not at the house, they were around the general area.”
“A lot of drug activity, a lot of prostitution, squatters,” remembered lifelong neighbor Cynthia Hooks.
All that changed with the roar of a diesel engine as crews began demolishing the fieldstone home to make way for a community that will eventually include 60 homes in the next couple years.
“It’s about ridding neighborhoods of crime and the hotbeds for crime,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “The story of this property is not a happy one. For though many people staggered in and out of its doors, this house was not a home. In its time this property was an entrapment for tragedy.”
Ever since the city and its partners acquired the property in June of 2017, there were no further runs to the house and calls for assistance dropped 18% in the immediate neighborhood, while construction is bringing new homes and sewer lines to the streets just east of the Monon Trail.
“People look around and think, ‘There’s action there, there’s absolutely something happening, I want to see what it is and then I want to see why it’s happening and if that’s part of the culture, that’s part of the neighborhood and the residents, I want to become part of,’” said Moria Carlstedd of the Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership.
Last fall, Hogsett announced the city was prepared to spend $4.5 million in federal grant over the next three years in the Monon 16 neighborhood.
Abandoned properties have come down, multi-unit housing has gone up and small businesses, including a restaurant and a bar, have opened.
Hogsett said he has come more than halfway in his promise a year ago to rehabilitate, rebuild or demolish two thousand properties across the city in two years.