By Lindy Thackston
INDIANAPOLIS — Starting tonight, Broad Ripple Avenue will be closed to traffic as need be from College to Guilford Avenues from midnight to 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.
This will happen at least through the summer. The closures will happen on an “as needed” basis, and could be for a few hours or the whole midnight to 4 a.m. stretch.
City-county councilors, the mayor’s office and the Broad Ripple Village Association all sat down on Thursday morning to talk about ideas and action after seven people were shot last weekend.
The section of the road will only be open to taxis, police and emergency vehicles.
Pedestrians will not be able to walk in the road. The hope is that it will cut out loitering and cruising.
“The worry was what is this going to do to the rest of the summer business in Broad Ripple, and that’s why we knew as an organization we needed to take action immediately,” said Justin McKeand, president of the Broad Ripple Village Association.
Many bar owners on the strip tell FOX 59 they have been asking for the street closure for two years.
Also in response to last weekend’s shooting, two mobile surveillance cameras have been put up in Broad Ripple.
One camera is located at Westfield and College and the other is at Winthrop & Broad Ripple Avenue.
The cameras will be monitored and controlled at the Regional Operations Center (ROC).
“I’m not scared, worried or bothered by anything,” said Tony Tomasello. “I know things can happen. It shouldn’t happen, but you just don’t close shop.”
Tomasello spends his days tucked away repairing shoes at one of the staple shops on Broad Ripple Avenue.
Kimmel Shoe Repair opened up for business in 1942.
Tomasello is the general manager.
His shop was spared in the spray of bullets, but neighboring businesses weren’t so lucky so he helped them clean the broken glass.
“Tight knit, you know. Everybody basically knows everybody. Looks out for everybody. So it’s great.”
His words were proven true again Friday afternoon when he found someone from a nearby business outside voluntarily painting over graffiti covering the side of his shop. He was grateful.
“Those little kids can read those words on there. They are not nice words for kids to read.”
“I just pray that people, when they come down here, they have a sense about themselves and have fun and not go out wild west style.”
IMPD will still handle patrols Friday night and is not seeking assistance from other agencies, despite fallen Officer Perry Renn’s funeral.