INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Indiana correction officials don’t have plans yet for a prison that closed this summer, but residents near the Indianapolis site say it shouldn’t sit empty and they hope its foreboding fencing is removed soon.
Residents near the former Indiana Women’s Prison in Indianapolis have suggested the site on the city’s east side could be turned into educational facilities, a park, senior housing or affordable housing, The Indianapolis Star reported .
“Even if it’s still a state building, they could move archives there or something,” said Christian Mosburg, president of the Willard Park of Holy Cross neighborhood association. “It could be publicly used.”
Residents also hope the former prison’s razor wire-topped chain link fence will soon be removed. They say it harms property values and makes it hard to plan for community development.
“We’re so close to downtown, people should be clawing to be here,” said City-County Councilman Zach Adamson, Mosburg’s spouse. “But there’s always been the prison — and now, if there’s no prison, even an empty building — all we’re asking is that it no longer be an impediment to the market.”
For now, the Indiana Department of Correction plans to maintain the 15-acre property, said agency spokesman Doug Garrison. The department also plans to leave some security at the location to keep out vandals.
“This is a crude term, but for right now, we’re mothballing it,” Garrison said.
The prison had previously been considered as the location of a new community justice center, but another location will likely house that complex.
Records show there were almost 200 inmates in the 420-bed prison in June, when the decision was made to close the location. Prison employees have been offered jobs at other locations.