Off-street trail in Nora, Indianapolis

Nora’s College Avenue Trail Approved and Funded

We learned this week that the College Avenue Trail in Nora has been funded as part of the RebuildIndy 2 projects. While the project was originally approved, it lost its funding and was cancelled last winter. Recent funding was acquired and the project was again added to the list of approved projects announced last week.

The project will provide a safe pedestrian off-street trail along this often congested section of College Ave. that has no sidewalks or shoulder.

RebuildIndy is Mayor Greg Ballard’s initiative to restore deteriorating streets, sidewalks and bridges as well as address neighborhood drainage and flooding issues. This investment continues to transform neighborhoods throughout Indianapolis.

Getting an off-street pedestrian trail or new sidewalks in a community can take years of hard work. Indeed, for the past 3- to 4- years several people in Nora have been advocating for an off-street trail along College Avenue between 86th Street and 91st Street. Some of the people involved in spearheading the trail include George Robinson, former athletic director at First Baptist Church, Barry Wood, and members of Hope Church. It serves as an example of what community pro-active planning can achieve.

Early details on the project are provided by Benjamin Easley, Public Information Officer / Department of Public Works:

  • This project will indeed be bid for construction in July and completely built by the end of the year.
  • The College Avenue Trail will be an off-street asphalt trail similar to the one on 91stStreet.  The trail on 91st Street narrows down to a sidewalk at 91st/College
  • There will be a crosswalk connection at the signal at 91st/College.
  • The College Ave trail will be on the west side of the road.
  • There will be pedestrian signals at 86th/College as well as 91st/College.

Thanks to ReBuildIndy, DPW, and all the people involved in making this trail happen.

Indiana daylight savings time map eastern vs. central time zone

How Is Your Morning? It Would Be Brighter On Central Time

If you awoke (in the dark), got your kids off to the bus stop (in the dark), made it to work (in the dark), and thought to yourself (in the dark), “I really hate this Daylight Savings Time,” you might just be a fan of Hoosiers for Central Time and the Central Time Coalition.

You see, it’s not necessarily Daylight Savings Time to blame, rather that we observe Eastern Daylight Savings Time instead of Central Daylight Savings Time (Indiana’s geographically correct time).

The mission of the Central Time Coalition is to promote the allocation of available sunlight and darkness in a manner that provides the greatest peace, safety and well-being to the citizens of Indiana. Specifically, the coalition supports Central Standard Time in winter and Central Daylight Time the remainder of the year. Their website is a call to action to the Indiana legislature to finish the job and get Indiana on the “right” time. It is packed with facts about the impact of Eastern time on Indiana, links to studies, and an online petition to show your support Hoosiers for Central Time (also on twitter).

The graph below compares how many sunrises Indianapolis would have before 7am on Eastern time (120 days) versus Central time (315 days).

sunrise graph Indiana daylight savings time comparison

Sunrise before 7am


Whether you are a fan of daylight savings time or not, some humor might help you going in the early morning darkness. Here’s comedian John Oliver ripping Daylight Saving Time on HBO’s Last Week Tonight.

Road Construction: Keystone Ave. Bridge Over 86th St.

The Indianapolis Department of Public Works (DPW) is planning a bridge maintenance project for Keystone Avenue over 86th Street. The project includes improvements to the existing north- and south-bound bridges and approaches.

The existing bridge super and substructure will remain in place. The bridge deck will be removed and replaced (and widened). DPW indicated Keystone Avenue will remain open, with lane restrictions throughout the project.

Estimated Start Date: April 14th, 2015
Estimated Completion Date: October 2015

New bridge railings will be installed, of similar style as existing. No work on the 86th St. underpass is included in the project. DPW staff have indicated that the existing structure does not preclude future 86th St. pedestrian access that may be developed by other projects.

About RebuildIndy

RebuildIndy is Mayor Greg Ballard’s initiative to restore deteriorating streets, sidewalks and bridges as well as address neighborhood drainage and flooding issues. This investment continues to transform neighborhoods throughout Indianapolis.

These projects create local jobs and increase public safety for neighborhoods and residents, which supports Mayor Ballard’s commitment to make Indianapolis a more livable city.

If You Could Design Nora’s Future Parks…

What would it look like?

Indy Parks Begins 5-Yr Master Planning: Washington Township

On March 4th, 2015, Indy Parks kicked off their master planning process for Washington Township. While the master plan will be for the entire city, their approach will be to look at each township individually.

Now is the time to get involved in the process for Washington Township!

Indy Parks Master Plan

The parks department evaluates the path their extensive park system will take every five years. The goal of this project is to engage the community, leadership and stakeholders in a meaningful and innovative public input process to build a shared vision for parks and recreation that supports the economic and community goals of the City of Indianapolis. PROS Consulting is a nationally recognized firm, headquartered in Indianapolis and will lead Indy Parks to a great sustainable plan to move forward.

The duration of the project from start to finish is 10 months with an anticipated completion date by December 2015.

This is a community-input driven process and the outcome and future recommendations will be driven by the needs and vision articulated by the community members.

Through the ‘Participate’ section on the Plan Indy Parks website –, you can provide open ended suggestions, respond to the online survey, know the dates for open public meetings and even share feedback through social media on Facebook and Twitter.

Light Cafe

The Light Cafe is a public cafe, run by the students of the J. Everett Light (JEL) Center!

When you eat at the Light Cafe, you are directly supporting the Culinary Arts program at North Central High School – J.Everett Light Center. Here students learn Advanced Culinary Techniques, Protein Fabrication, Artisanal Breads, Regional Desserts, Global Cuisine, Restaurant/Hotel Management, and Entrepreneurship.

The JEL Light Cafe is located at 1901 E. 86th Street, on the east side of JEL (adjoining North Central High School). As you pull into the JEL campus, go around the parking lot and follow signs towards the back of JEL. You will see designated parking signs for the Light Cafe.

The Light Cafe is open to the public during the school year on Wednesdays and Thursdays of each week.  The hours are 7:30 AM – 1:00 PM with breakfast and lunch menus available for dining in or carry out. Menus change regularly – see the Light Cafe website for the latest menu.


Photo credit: Light Cafe website

Daubenspeck Community Nature Park

Daubenspeck Community Nature Park is a rare, green-space haven of approximately 22 acres at 8900 Ditch Road in Nora. The park is approximately 22 acres and consists of a 14-acre tall -grass prairie, 1 acre of emergent wetlands, 7 acres of forested riparian habitat.

You’ll be welcomed by mowed grass trails, benches to rest, peaceful woods, open prairie, bridges and boardwalks to traverse the creek and wetlands. There is a parking area to leave your car, an observation deck, and more.  The features here are designed to help you get closer to nature and enjoy your visit, without disturbing the habitat.

The park is named after a local a farmer named Peter Daubenspeck who owned a lot of land near West 86th Street and Ditch Road in Indianapolis.  While he sold parts of his farm which became neighborhoods like North Willow Farms, Mr. Daubenspeck decided to set aside the plot at 8900 Ditch for the benefit of the public, and gave it to the schools.

Since the student enrollment in the Metropolitan School District of Washington Township had been relatively stable since the mid 1990’s, and the 15 acre field was too small to build a new school, the MSDWT considered selling the land for development.  But the taxpayers of Washington Township cried out to save the land as one of the very rare remaining green spaces left in that township.

In 2005, the MSDWT School Board decided not to sell the land, and the neighborhoods and community formed an IRS 501-c-3 charitable non-profit
organization to manage it as a nature park. The organization maintains a rich website with tons of great information about the park and natural features, as well as transparency in its organizational documents.

It’s free and open to the public year round, dawn to dusk.

DCNP Inc. is a charitable, non-profit
(IRS 501-C-3) funded by individual donations,
corporate support, and grants.  Donations are

Photo credit: Daubpark website

Al Wood Place

This humble micro park in the heart of Nora is a perfect spot to take a quick break. Al Wood Place is located on 86th Street just across from the fire department. It is the namesake of Mr. Al Wood, Nora Northside Community Council (NCC) director emeritus, and the everyday superhero who fought to have the unsightly and hazardous “Nora Branch open ditch” piped and covered. Since the park’s creation, NCC Board members have planted flower beds and trees and now, as a covenant of membership, patrol it monthly to keep it litter-free. Next door neighbor CVS Drugs acts as a partner with NCC by providing grass maintenance and sprinkling.

Learn more about what Al Wood Place once was – and wasn’t – in this nicely researched article from Historic Indianapolis, The Curious Case of Al Wood Place.

Oliver’s Woods, One of Indy’s Last Pockets of Nature

Marion County was pretty much paved over decades ago, but nestled here and there are still some pockets of the natural life.

The most striking of these is a patch of ground at 8825 River Road that’s owned by the Central Indiana Land Trust.

It’s hemmed in by the six loud, fast lanes of I-465 and the cement jungle that is the Fashion Mall at Keystone. But it’s spectacular and wild. It feels like you’re in the sticks. It’s 53 acres. Trees cover it, wildflowers cover it. The White River meanders through it. Bald eagles pass over it.

The Land Trust calls it Oliver’s Woods for Oliver Daugherty, the man who could have sold it to developers for millions but didn’t because he wanted to preserve the pocket of nature where his family had lived for generations. Again and again, developers knocked on the door of the grand, old (but extremely dilapidated) family manse, and again and again, Daugherty ordered them off the premises. Oliver Daugherty died in 2009 (without heirs) at age 73. He left his property to the Land Trust.

Portions of Oliver’s Woods can be accessed through the southern tip of Town Run Trail Park.

Photo credit: Central Indiana Land Trust

Oliver’s Woods to Become Central Indiana Land Trust Headquarters

Oliver’s Woods is a 53-acre nature preserve located in Nora near the Keystone at the Crossing shopping area. It was left to the Central Indiana Land Trust by Mr. Oliver Daugherty, who passed away in 2009.

The 53-acre property includes 16 acres of woods, 37 acres of prairie-savanna restoration, and a mile of frontage along the White River. The southern half of the popular Town Run Trail Park is encompassed within this property. The mountain bike trails will remain in place, as was agreed upon by Mr. Daugherty and Indy Parks. The remaining portion of the property will eventually serve as the Central Indiana Land Trust’s headquarters, and hiking trails will be added for nature walks and wildlife viewing.

“This nature preserve is not yet officially open to the public, but we look forward to sharing it with the community soon,” states the Central Indiana Land Trust website.

Photo credit: IndyStar

Nora’s PUPstop

The People for Urban Progress have brought IndyGo’s PUPstops to Nora. If you don’t know the significance of these bright yellow seats in Nora, here’s the scoop: they are salvaged Bush Baseball Stadium seats repurposed at bus stops throughout Indianapolis.

“After salvaging roughly 9,000 Bush Stadium seats in 2012, through a collaboration with Ecolaborative, RecycleForce, and Indianapolis Fabrications, PUP began working with IndyGo to begin installing refurbished seats at bus stops throughout Indianapolis. Before we started, of the nearly 4000 bus stops in Indianapolis, only 42 had a bench. Since then, we’ve added 31 PUPSTOPS, and are on track to reach our goal of 42 by the end of 2014. In two years, we will have doubled the number of benches at bus stops using a resource the city already had,” reads the PUP website.

Check out the People for Urban Progress website’s great information and to support the project.

Thanks PUP! We think its pretty awesome to have these historic PUPstop seats in Nora!

Image credit: PUPstop website.