Washington Township Schools

This is probably old news now, but if you’re new to the neighborhood or if May of 2020 seems like a decade ago, we thought we’d connect you with the source on this local topic: Washington Township Schools referendum and facility planning. On the Washington Township Schools referendum page you can find FAQs, Projects, Project Timelines, Calculators and more. Link below:

Washington Township Schools Referendum Page

photo: GB Landrigan Realtors

Nora Center Work Group Comments on Car Wash Proposal

At a meeting hosted by Nora Community Council and attended by Nora Alliance President, James Williams, representatives from Crew Car Wash presented a proposal for a car wash to be located in Nora at the current Steak’n Shake located at 86th & Westfield. 

We have completed our review of the preliminary proposal and conclude that a car wash at this location is ​inconsistent with the Nora 2021 Community Plan​ and is ​an excluded use in the Marion County Land Use Plan​ under the Village Mixed-Use typology with Town Center overlay. Put plainly, a car wash does not fit within the planning regimes for our community. The Nora Alliance, therefore, cannot welcome the proposed development in the Nora Center area.

The mission of Nora Alliance (a group of neighbors and businesses) is “to support and encourage a spirit of community cooperation in Nora Center to promote strong amenities, connected people, and a vibrant built environment.” A portion of the work we’ve done in collaboration with neighbors, business and city planners is to consider Nora in the context of the city’s comprehensive plan, and to overlay a plan generated by Nora Alliance and our neighbors, Nora 2021.

The plans mentioned here help guide our discussion of projects of significant community impact. With regard to the proposed car wash, we sent a letter, copied to neighborhood groups and city officials, to Crew to express our viewpoints on the proposal. It can be viewed here.

The Monon, in the heart of Nora.

Update: Public Input into 91st & College proposals

Washington Township School District officials and construction/engineering consultants scheduled several open meetings in January that were open to the public and have continued to have dialogue with neighbors interested in the future of school transportation, safe & walkable neighborhoods, school upgrades and potential construction impacts.

At this link, you can see a presentation from January with additional renderings. Below: some additional dates for informational sessions (RSVP – see yellow notes).

Proposed transportation complex to replace soccer fields at 91st & College

Washington Township Schools is considering a plan to develop an Operations Service Center at the southwest corner of 91st Street and College Avenue. The land is currently the site of 10 soccer fields utilized by Dynamo FC.

The planned development would consolidate a number of district-wide functions into a single location. The complex would include facilities for parking, maintenance, and fueling of buses and other district vehicles, training facilities and offices for the district police department, offices for various other support functions, and storage warehouses for district property and equipment.

The project would be part of a $285 million capital referendum to be placed on the May 2020 ballot along with a $128 million operating referendum, if approved by the school board.  For more details, view the WTS presentation from the November 13 school board meeting.

The Washington Township School Board will hold a second hearing and vote on these referenda at the school board meeting on Wednesday, December 11, 2019, at 6 PM at the H. Dean Evans Community and Education Center located at 8550 Woodfield Crossing Blvd.  As the proposed development has the potential to significantly alter the character of the surrounding area, the Nora Alliance encourages all interested residents to attend and participate in the school board meeting. It is our understanding there will be an opportunity for public comment.

June Events include Films, Fireflies

UPDATE 6/21: The event has been postponed until next Friday, June 28, due to rain.

We hope you’ll join us this June in Nora. On June 12th at Sahm’s Ale House on the Monon, we collaborate with Indiana Humanities and My White River to host a screening of White River Films with discussion following. The following week, on Friday the 21st28th, we host “Summer Solstice, a Night in Nora” with a family firefly walk and hands-on firefly art and firefly science led by the da Vinci Pursuit (“A museum without walls”). More info on our Facebook page or in the event descriptions linked here.

Sidewalk between Ironworks developments and Keystone Crossing available for use

INDIANAPOLIS (July 16, 2018) – The highly-anticipated sidewalk that connects Ironworks Hotel Indy and Ironworks at Keystone to the Keystone Crossing area is now open for public use.

The sidewalk, which stretches 1,140 feet, begins at the Ironworks developments and runs along the south side of 86th Streetto the Fidelity Investments building located at 8480 Keystone Crossing. Pedestrian crossing signals make the sidewalk safe for passersby.

“The 86th and Keystone area is one of the busiest interchanges in the city,” said Jill Saligoe-Simmel, Nora Alliance board member. “It’s been mostly inaccessible to safe bike and pedestrian traffic. The Nora Alliance is pleased to have an involved community partner like Hendricks Commercial Properties and Ironworks to champion this project. We think it will be a valuable link for recreation, shopping and commuters. Our desire for Nora is for it to be friendly to people including those on bikes, on foot and in cars.”

Hendricks Commercial Properties, the Wisconsin-based developer of Ironworks Hotel Indy and Ironworks at Keystone, worked with the city to install the sidewalk and make the 86th Street region more walkable.

“Connecting the Ironworks developments to Keystone Crossing is a key point of linkage for the city,” said Isaac Bamgbose, vice president of development for Hendricks Commercial Properties. “While there is still room for improvement, we’re excited about this project as it’s the only safe passage space for pedestrians available beneath the Keystone Bridge on 86th Street. Whether for shopping, recreation, or dining, the entire Nora community will benefit greatly from this walkway installation.”

Hendricks Commercial Properties owns more than 9 million square feet of real estate in 30 statesacross the U.S., including 13 buildings in Indiana. Notably, Hendricks Commercial Properties is recognized for its award-winning luxury apartments, Ironworks at Keystone, and Indy’s only independent boutique hotel, Ironworks Hotel. Hendricks Commercial Properties is also spearheading the Bottleworks District project, a transformational $260 million mixed-use redevelopment project of the former Coca-Cola bottling plant on Massachusetts Avenue.

To learn more about Hendricks Commercial Properties, visitwww.hendricksgroup.net. To learn more about Ironworks Hotel Indy, visit www.ironworkshotelindy.comor follow on Twitter, Facebook, Instagramand LinkedIn. To learn more about Ironworks at Keystone, visit www.ironworksindy.comor follow on Twitter and Facebook.

About Ironworks Hotel Indy

Ironworks Hotel Indy is Indianapolis’ first and only north side boutique hotel. The five-story original brick industrial building inspired by 19th century architecture features 120 guest rooms in addition to retail space, and provides a comfortable, eclectic first-class experience for both local guests and travelers.

About Ironworks at Keystone

Ironworks at Keystone is a distinct 5-story mixed use development on the corner of Keystone Avenue and 86thStreet. Inspired by a time when we built things to last, Ironworks at Keystone features nearly 36,000 square feet of fine dining and shopping on the 1stfloor, 120 modern residential apartments for rent on the upper floors. Live, work and play in perfect balance at a place made with strength and stability.

About Hendricks Commercial Properties

For the past 43 years, Hendricks Commercial Properties, headquartered in Beloit, Wis., has been investing in commercial real estate throughout the country. Diane Hendricks, Chairman of the Board, started the company in 1974 with a core focus in multi-family and industrial real estate. Today, the company is a diversified real estate investment, development and management company comprised of more than 9 million square feet with over 800 tenants located in 30 states. The company and its ongoing strategy remains committed to continually growing a highly diversified Class A portfolio with its core asset focus being industrial, retail and urban mixed-use commercial real estate.

public art mural on train conductor phone booth Nora Indianapolis Indiana Nora Alliance Monon Trail

Mural on Conductor’s Phone Booth

The Conductor’s Phone Booth is a touch of railroad history tucked away on the Monon Trail in Nora. Back when the trains used to run (way before cell phones!) they used to stop here and call ahead to let the next station know they were on their way. The trains are gone, but this well-built concrete phone booth remains. It was manufactured by Permacrete – the company that made many of the telephone booths for railroads.

Today, thanks to many volunteer hours, the phone booth sports a nature-inspired mural. It’s the inaugural artwork this summer as the Nora Alliance Monon Trail Workgroup slowly develops Nora Corners Pocket Park for the community to enjoy.

ALDI replacing Marsh at Nora Corners Shopping Center

The former Marsh in the Nora Corners Shopping Center at 86th and Westfield Boulevard will soon be a new ALDI.

Remodeling is underway inside and outside. The old glass atrium has been demolished and a new canopy will be added on the south facade.

There will be sidewalk improvements and a new parking design near the front of the building.
Stay tuned for more updates and share your photos of the progress on Nora Indy’s Facebook page – www.facebook.com/noraindy.org

Images below are from April 7, 2018

Aldi - Demolition of Old Marsh - Nora, Indiana

Aldi - Demolition of Old Marsh - Nora, IndianaAldi - Demolition of Old Marsh - Nora, Indiana

Image below courtesy of Eclipse Real Estate – up to 26,055sf available for Lease at Nora Corners Shopping Center. Anchored by ALDI, opening 2018. Located next to the Monon Trail and in one of the most desirable retail markets of Indianapolis.


Below is a video from the recent story from the Indy Channel.

A Better Outcome for Nora: Alexander at the Crossing

The wooded property on the northeast corner of 86th St and Haverstick Rd was slated for an intensive commercial development with near clear-cutting of trees (the approved “Kite Project”). The goal of renegotiating the development was to seek a better outcome for the Nora community on this important gateway parcel.

image_3 developments-b

At 3 pm Thursday, April 5th, negotiations on the Alexander at the Crossing project (zoning case 2016-ZON-020) came to a successful conclusion, with documents filed Friday. This is a summary of the negotiated agreement.

Community Priorities

On March 4th, Driftwood Hills (DH), the Nora Northside Community Council (NCC), The Nora Alliance (NA) representatives met together to establish a common list of negotiation objectives. Although DH representatives, originally in a leadership role for this process, stepped away in favor of negotiating directly with the developer, NCC, NA, and DH continued to share common overarching goals. Our contacts with DH have been consistent and regular with the DHNA current/past-president and the DHNA new/current president.

Negotiation Objectives

The issues can be summed up as trees/tree canopy, traffic, and protection of the residential neighborhood on the north side of 86th St. Our mutual objectives going into negotiations included the following:

  • Commitment on the northern part of the parcel for residential use only with density not to exceed that proposed in the 2005 Comprehensive Plan
  • Reduction in Alexander Project surface parking lot area
  • Reduction of noise and light pollution
  • Incorporate existing trees of significance into the site plan
  • Pedestrian safety – signalized crosswalk across 86th St.
  • Neighborhood traffic safety concerns
  • Area traffic improvements, including light timing and confirming eastbound/westbound turn lanes from Haverstick Rd (while we all agreed the developer isn’t responsible for solving all the 86th St traffic congestion problems in the area, they need to work with the City on solutions)
  • (Follow-up (via email) included information about the emergency signaling devices installed but which may not be operational on 86th St that control the lights when emergency vehicles approach. This issue needs to be resolved by City departments (it is not a conflict the developer can resolve), but nonetheless important for Nora safety and we will continue to follow up with Councilor Fanning and City on this important issue.)

Outcome of Negotiations

Negotiation is largely about compromise. With some give-and-take, we think we successfully achieved our end goal of a better outcome for the Nora community and the neighborhood of Driftwood Hills, with an improved plan over both the approved Kite Project and 2017 denied Alexander Project. The project has significant modifications from what was rejected last Fall, with many concessions that greatly improve the project for the community.

The following is a summary of that outcome:

  • Protects residential character of the neighborhood and restricts further commercial development
    • Commits adjacent property on the north side (old Alexander “Phase II”) of the development to be for residential use only, with density not to exceed 8 units per acre (the Indianapolis Comprehensive Plan recommends greater than 8.00 and equal to or less than 15.00 units per acre for this area).
    • Provides for a Driftwood Hills neighborhood gateway sign on Haverstick to identify neighborhood.
  • Reduces hard surfaces and improves drainage
    • Reduces total impervious surfaces of development parcel (approximately 70% reduction from approved Kite Project).
    • Reduces surface parking to not more than 300 spaces (reduced from 363 spaces from old Alexander; 18% reduction from approved Kite Project).
    • Reduces building footprint to 28,000 square feet (it was 30,000), and allows for alternate building with additional stories and integrated parking (53% reduction from approved Kite Project).
    • Saves a 1.2-acre area that would have been clear-cut for detention pond (preserving nearly 100 trees over 10 caliper inches) by using an underground detention system (100% improvement over approved Kite Project)
  • Decrease noise and light pollution
    • Reduces noise pollution from speakers by limiting their position such that the audio is directed away from the residential neighborhood and strictly adhere to applicable noise or nuisance ordinances (noise was not addressed in Kite Project).
    • Restricts trash pick up to between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m (noise was not addressed in Kite Project).
    • Reduces light pollution from the parking lot by featuring full cutoff fixtures, automatic dimming and motion control technology (light was not addressed in Kite Project).
  • Saves Trees
    • Incorporates the existing tree commitments from the approved Kite Project – stringent tree mitigation is still required.
    • Conserves more heritage and significant trees into site plan by conserving a contiguous wooded area on the eastern border of the subject property (a 1.5-acre increase from approved Kite Project).
    • Protects trees during construction by identifying appropriate equipment staging area and following a qualified tree preservation plan (Kite project would be near clear-cut with no staging area necessary).
    • Keeps the benefits of tree mitigation within the Nora community. In the past, other development tree mitigations have sent tree replacements as far away as the Colts training grounds. The agreement clarifies that replacement trees will stay in Nora, in locations where they make sense.
    • Helps assure replacement trees survive by providing a 2-year tree warranty period (Alexander project previously had 1 -year commitment; Kite Project had no warranty period for mitigated trees).
  • Enhances pedestrian and neighborhood traffic safety
    • Establishes a “Driftwood Hills Traffic and Pedestrian Safety Fund” for the sole purpose of:
      • Assisting in the funding of neighborhood traffic calming devices, the exact location and type of devices to be determined by the Nora Representatives in consultation with the Driftwood Hills Neighborhood Association, Green Indy, LLC, and the City of Indianapolis.
      • Signalized crosswalk at Haverstick Rd and 86th St.
    • Reduces through-traffic into the neighborhood from the development by restricting the parking lot exit to a left-turn-only (south) onto Haverstick Rd (no similar restrictions in the previous Alexander or Kite Project).
    • Discourages through traffic from the development by a neighborhood gateway sign.
  • Improves area traffic
    • Improves traffic exiting neighborhood by providing dedicated left turn lane and shared right/through lane for southbound Haverstick Rd.
    • Modifies existing traffic signal timing at 86th Street and Haverstick Road.
    • Engages the developer in discussions with the City of Indianapolis to coordinate signal timing with the intersections of 86th Street and the Keystone ramps and to relieve congestion associated with frequent bus service.

2018-04-05_Overall Plan Alexander at the Crossing-Ex Trees-med

The developer, Green Indy LLC, listened carefully, showed a willingness to compromise, and made important modifications based on these priorities.

We’d like to reaffirm our belief that Councilor Fanning and NCC have acted in the best interests of all Nora residents. The Nora Northside Community Council (NCC), by a vote of their board, requested Councilor Fanning make this call-down. The Nora Alliance, Inc (NA) Board of Directors supported the call-down request. The NCC has 50 years experience with land use development cases in the Nora community. They are also a fount of knowledge regarding the unsuccessful legal battles fought by Nora neighbors in an attempt to stop the 2005 D-P zoning of this site. NCC made a compelling argument for why a renegotiated Alexander Project makes sense as the best possible outcome given the existing D-P zoning and the logical likelihood that the site will be developed.

We have witnessed Councilor Fanning passionately representing the interests of her constituents in the Nora community and NCC as the lead neighborhood organization on land use issues.

Preliminary DP Plan

Statement of Commitments