Crime-ridden eastside apartment complex being demolished; a multi-year process

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — It’s been something city officials, community leaders, and neighbors in the 42nd and post area have been wanting for a while; Oaktree apartments to be demolished.

For the last decade officials say it’s been a high crime spot; even after they were condemned in 2014.

“Oaktree apartments does not represent the people of this neighborhood. It does not represent the people of this city and today it’s coming down,” Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said.

Don’t judge a book by its cover, or in this case, don’t judge a community by one apartment complex.

“Like every other community it has bad, but we have good people out here that do good things,” Community member Brenda Grundy said.

Brenda Grundy says Oaktree apartments wasn’t always a bad place but says the crime started to spill into her neighborhood and surrounding ones.

“That’s why at our complex we have a fence around it now. We are able to keep a lot of the stuff out, but it still tries to come through,” Grundy said.

In 2014; the apartments were condemned by the Marion County Health Department and soon became vacant, but the crime stayed.

“It attracts crime, it attracts violence, it attracts dirty activities drug trafficking to sex trafficking,” District 14 City-County councilor candidate Derris Ross said.

“They at one point told first responders to not come in here because it was so bad,” District 14 City-County councilor La Keisha Jackson said.

After years of lengthy court battles between the city and the property owners Indy Diamond LLC; the city finally got authorization to knock down the apartments.

“From a public safety standpoint, it’s going to be better because it keeps everyone around here safe and it keeps the police officers who have to respond here safe knowing that there won’t be these blind spots for us anymore,” Officer Roman Williams-Ervin said.

City-County councilor La Keisha Jackson says this moment has been a multi-year process. It’s something she’s wanted and a lot of community members in the 42nd and post area did too.

“I believe that working together still works,” Jackson said.

“What’s the follow up from this? what needs to be placed here? We don’t need anything that’s not going to revitalize our community,” Ross said.

The entire demolition project will take about 6 months to complete.

The Department of Metropolitan Development is currently working to acquire the 19 acres and will assist in future redevelopment.

“Once demolition is complete, there will be approximately 19 acres available for future redevelopment, removing a significant public safety and health nuisance and simultaneously improving the quality of life on the far eastside. It would also unlock the opportunity to begin community conversations about future transit-oriented development on this site; which is located along the proposed purple line and adjacent to planned BRT stops,” The Department of Metropolitan Development Director Emily Mack said.

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