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Guest Post by Amy Crook: Devington Community Hub

Devington_ShoppingCenterMural

Image Credit: Amy Crook

The story begins here, at Devington Shopping Center, located at Arlington Avenue and Staughton Drive (near 46th Street). The colorful mural here was painted by Arlington Students several years ago. Stop by and take a closer look sometime. But for this case, notice the color. Its liveliness as seen here from the street. Arlington High School is the building just north of here.

A year ago, from this viewpoint, if you turned around, you’d see an abandoned housing community that was once vibrant through the 50′s and 60′s.

Devington_AbandonedHousing

Image Credit: WRTV 13

Through community outreach, the Devington community discovered they were in need of a Senior Housing Community. This site proved to be a good fit for that. So the story continues: First Devington Senior Housing, plans to open this Summer 2013.

Devington_FirstRendering

The Community and the Seniors moving into this building were engaged in the design process led by BWI and w/purpose. The citizens that make up the Devington Community even voted on the color of the building. They wanted bright colors that celebrated their neighborhood, their lives, something that pulls them outside to join and be a part of their community. The viewpoint in the images above, looking at First Devington and the Devington Shopping Plaza comes from standing at the IndyGo Bus Stop at that intersection.

Devington_BusStop_Before

Image Credit: Amy Crook

From all of this community engagement, a question came about, “How do we transform the way residents feel about taking the bus?” What if we celebrated it. Continued to engage the community and add some color. Get more people involved not only within the community, but invite organizations outside of the community in to be a part of this. A dialogue started about what could happen here. Personal interviews with those at the stop and throughout the community. Devington learned even more about itself and residents continued to get to know one another.

Devington_BusStop_Rendering

They applied for the Keep Indianapolis Beautiful (KIB) Greenspace grant, and won. IndyGo is helping out, they are getting a new shelter at this stop. The community wants to use salvaged and repurposed materials where they can including repurposed Bush Stadium Seats from People for Urban Progress. The KIB Greenspace Grant is just one funding partner of many more traditional, the City of Indianapolis, the Senior Housing Site Developer, Indianapolis Power and Light to name a few.

When the First Devington development was beginning to break ground, a design firm located in the neighborhood named w/purpose noticed old pavers on site and saw an opportunity to salvage and repurpose them at the bus stop. w/purpose and Keep Indianapolis Beautiful invited Arlington High School’s new Art Teacher to be a part of the project. Arlington High School students painted the pavers. The students wanted to keep these vibrant colors that seem fitting to be in eyeshot of the mural, the center of it all, and the new First Devington project.

Engagement with the students didn’t stop there. They were engaged further and asked “What can you imagine at this bus stop?” The students had really creative ideas. We want to engage our youth, before they grow old and lose that creativity, imagining turning the seemingly impossible… possible.

They had ideas including: what if you were sitting in the shelter and it was like you were in a fishbowl. Or what if the sides of the shelter had messages for the community’s bus riders etched into the glass. This is the direction that Devington wants to take. They are on Power2Give to fundraise, turning a seemingly impossible idea… possible.

Devington_BusStop_Progress

Progress Report: They are well on their way to install these pavers. New concrete has been poured. They should have the PUPstop seats in soon. The shade structure is being developed by a local fabricator, ACS Sign Solutions. They can still use your help. They want to turn the students’ vision into reality. Please consider donating what you can, to Devington Community Hub and Bus Stop on Power2Give.

There are so many positive community building stories coming out of this Devington Bus Stop project that I didn’t even include in this post. I am grateful to be playing a small part. Come join us and be a part of this.

AmyCrookheadshotAmy Crook is a marketing professional proud to call downtown Indianapolis home. Her past work includes franchise development for a food concept covering the midwest region and business development for a brewery expanding into Wisconsin and Kentucky markets. She is the Development Innovator for People for Urban Progress (PUP), an Indianapolis based 501(c)3 non profit that promotes and advances public transit, environment and urban design. Amy also serves on the Indianapolis Downtown Marketing, Inc Board, she is on the Resource Committee for the Indianapolis Cultural Trail and the Young Alumni Council for Kelley School of Business at Indianapolis. http://www.peopleup.org http://about.me/akcrook

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2 Responses to “ “Guest Post by Amy Crook: Devington Community Hub”

  1. Amy,

    I love your article, I am the Executive Director of Devington CDC and that was our first INRC Imagine award to paint the mural. I would love to speak with you and enlighten you on why we are no longer at Devington and our plans to continue the good works started in that area. You can reach me at the above email or my phone # is 317-710-7102.

    Hope to hear from you, thanks for the good report on Devington area.

    Sincerely.

    Sharon Arnold

  2. Great work, Amy–nice to see coverage in a part of town that often escapes the limelight. I’ll be interested in seeing how it unfolds, since this neighborhood’s architectural quirks could easily attract investment down the road.

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