INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — City-County Councilors can take big steps in fixing a pesky east side shopping plaza on Monday.
Council member Blake Johnson said Irvington Plaza has been the site of over 100 public service calls over the past year. Just this past February, a man was shot while trying to rob an EZ Pawn at the plaza. Johnson is proposing to make the location an Economic Development Area. The designation would open up financial tools and incentives for developers.
"Let's put focus on this area to spur economic development and put every tool on the table to set the groundwork," Johnson said.
A good number of the spaces are vacant in the Plaza, and Johnson said the location is a barrier for the booming development nearby. Owner Eric Becker is holding onto the property unless the right buyer comes along.
“What I’ve always loved about Irvington, and the east side generally, is it's defined by people who are willing to roll their sleeves up and work really, really hard to get stuff done," Johnson said. “This could be a neighborhood, plus multi-use, plus retail, and that could be extraordinary."
"Let's show that demand to potential developers instead of having to show them this," neighbor Janet Montes said.
Montes is forming a team of artists to put temporary murals on some open spaces. Becker said he is open to the idea but admits it would be torn down as soon as a developer comes into the space. So far, Montes has yet to reach out to Becker to set up what can be done.
"This is an amazing playground as it stands but not the kind we want attracting our children," Montes said.
Becker said he hopes to attract a huge player and someone who can give the space the attention it deserves. Johnson said the city has been given mock up plans from interested developers. The plaza was also the subject of an economic development study done by the Urban Land Institute.