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.

Indy Parks Plan – Your Opportunity for Feedback

At the April Nora Alliance meeting, we gathered input to the Indy Parks, Recreation, and Open Space 5-Year Plan. The DRAFT document linked below is an outcome of that meeting, submitted to Indy Parks in June 2015.

This is an open, transparent, and community-let effort. Like it? Don’t like it? Your comments, constructive criticism, praise, ideas, alternatives, input, and priorities are welcomed!

Please comment below, or on Facebook, Twitter (#noraparksplan), or email by June 3rd, 2015.



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.

Community Districting Initiatives Around Us

Indy’s Cultural Districts and Commercial Corridors are getting a lot of attention these days – and increasing promotion and investment from the city. To our north, communities are heavily investing in place-making, such as the Carmel Arts & Design District.

There are six well branded “Cultural Districts” in Indy. The Indianapolis Cultural Development Commission has successfully labeled, branded, and marketed each area. Several emerging residential and commercial districts are gaining a lot of attention, too (and investment). Indy will continue to promote and expand Cultural Districts and small business corridors, such as Irvington, 49th and Penn, MidTown and Holy Cross to name just a few.

Did you know that Indy’s place-based initiatives are largely community led?

As the Nora Alliance explores where Nora fits in, valuable insight is gleaned by looking at what others have done – and they’re not just downtown either. Most have completed detailed community studies, developed their local vision, and created action plans (sometimes with the assistance with community advocacy groups like LISC). Many have successfully advocated development and improvement plans, some have created TIF districts, sponsored visual branding and community events, promoted local merchants, and more.

Here are links to many of the local business/merchants associations, community development corporations, community organizations, and informal associations that are making a huge impact on their unique areas of the city:


Indy’s Community Districts: Where Does Nora Fit?

Strong place-making initiatives are thriving all around the city that serve to define cultural, residential and commercial “districts.”

Districting efforts are largely locally led initiatives to promote communities, and their efforts drive future planning and investment. Indianapolis’ Strategic Plan 2014 and current Plan 2020 initiatives are aggressively pursuing strategies to promote and invest in well defined community districts.

The Nora Alliance seeks your input to determine where Nora fits in these city-wide strategies.

Indy’s total population has declined for people over 35 and under 19 (City of Indianapolis: Strategic Plan 2014). This key finding demonstrates that Indy is seeing families with school-aged children choosing to move elsewhere, mainly the counties surrounding Marion County. They move someplace they perceive to provide better schools and a safer environment, even if such perceptions are not always real.

Nora offers an active community defined by family-friendly neighborhoods, choice shops, fabulous restaurants, and superior public schools. As such, Nora can play a key role in helping realize the city’s strategic plan.


We know people are attracted to vibrant neighborhoods, and will choose to invest time and money in an appealing neighborhood knowing they will benefit from this investment. By coordinating city services and investments, Indy’s unique neighborhoods will be prime locations for attracting new residents and increasing the property and income tax base. – CITY OF INDIANAPOLIS: Strategic Plan 2014

Guiding Principle: Invest in strong neighborhoods

This is one of the seven guiding principles defined by the Indy Strategic Plan 2014. “Strong neighborhoods will retain and then attract residents, resulting in growth. To do this, the City must do a better job of coordinating city services and departments and better leveraging city funds and resources.”

Indy to Promote Vibrant Neighborhoods

Indy’s 2014 Strategic Plan Goal 7:


Ultimately, there is no stronger vote of acknowledgment of a community’s success than to have residents living in its borders. In the months ahead, city officials, along with key community and neighborhood representatives will launch an initiative to bring attention to the opportunities of living in Indy. This initiative will tackle a myriad of issues and focus on several key opportunities.

Key Action: Create a powerful narrative for living in Indy

Why is this important?

Residents have choices in Central Indiana. Indy needs to be able to showcase its strong amenities and desirable neighborhoods to attract those residents to become a part of the social, economic and community fabric of the city. While clear narratives exist for working or visiting Indy, a comprehensive narrative for living here has not been created in recent history.

Key Action: Address the information deficit

Why is this important?

When a potential resident comes to Central Indiana, there is not always clear information available about Indy’s options for residential living. This is partly because of scale and size – Indy is nearly 400 square miles in geographic area. But it is also partly due to the lack of a coordinated effort to transmit information to relocation specialists, human resource departments and real estate agents. Both need to be addressed.

Key Action: Create access to art, nature and beauty every day for everybody

Why is this important?

While this strategic plan document highlights many of the “nuts and bolts” of cities, there are emotional and mental connections that exist and need constant nourishment and enhancement. To this end, Indy must strive to be a place that offers a value proposition of art, nature and beauty every day for everybody.

Source: CITY OF INDIANAPOLIS: Strategic Plan 2014

Indy to Promote New Cultural Districts

Indy’s 2014 Strategic Plan Goal 6:

Encourage Citizen Engagement and Connection

People want to live in communities where they feel a sense of belonging, connection, and responsibility to their neighborhood’s well-being. Furthermore, people want to live somewhere fun. They want access to unique places and spaces that inspire creativity and camaraderie.

Key Action: Promote new cultural districts

Indy has six uniquely branded Cultural Districts: Broad Ripple Village, The Canal and White River State Park, Fountain Square, Indiana Avenue, Mass Ave and the Wholesale District. The Indianapolis Cultural Development Commission has successfully labeled, branded, and marketed each area. Indy will continue to promote and expand Cultural Districts and small business corridors, such as Irvington, 49th and Penn, and Holy Cross to name just a few.

Why is this important?

Providing unique cultural and living options for people looking to move into Indy is critical. Indy’s cultural districts offer different amenities and diverse opportunities to match the wants and needs of Indy residents. Local cultural districts and business corridors are attractive areas to target city funding to continue to grow and invest the districts. (emphasis added)

When will this occur?

This is one of Indy’s ongoing initiatives for citywide economic development.

How will this be accomplished?

Indy will continue to invest in and support the development of cultural districts and small business corridors. These areas have already proved to be successful in attracting local businesses and residents, and we should continue to invest in them. Additionally, as new areas in Indy are developed, it should be a consideration to create, brand, and promote a new cultural district. It is anticipated that a new cultural district around the City Market area will be unveiled

in Spring 2014. Additionally, gateway and street improvements will assist in identifying the Lafayette Square area as Indy’s “International Marketplace.”

Source: CITY OF INDIANAPOLIS: Strategic Plan 2014