The proposed rain garden has been met with enthusiasm by Double 8 Foods (see letter of commitment), neighborhood organizations (see letters of support), and many neighborhood residents. We are not aware of a single negative comment about this project. Partner organizations are well representative of the area surrounding the Double 8 Foods (Figure 6). Project partners include the following organizations:
Project sponsor: IndyTilth
Site sponsor: Double 8 Foods
Design team: Schmidt Associates (www.schmidt-arch.com)
Funding: United Water Green Infrastructure Grant & Keep Indianapolis Beautiful Project Greenspace
Fiscal agent and neighborhood CDC: Mapleton-Fall Creek Development Corporation
Surrounding neighborhood associations: Historic Meridian Park Neighborhood Association & Watson-McCord Neighborhood Association
Other neighborhood partners: Constitution Gardens (Apartment community north of Double 8 Foods; Whitsett Group), Mid-North Church Council
There are several ongoing and developing projects within Mapleton-Fall Creek that demonstrate the interest and engagement of this community in green infrastructure and greenspace. These include a City-sponsored stormwater diversion pilot project designed to minimize CSO in Fall Creek and a CDC-sponsored LEED-ND registered project and greenspace efforts including three pocket parks. IndyTilth has also submitted two other grant applications that are currently pending – one for focused tree planting and another to develop a community garden. These projects complement a comprehensive neighborhood revitalization plan focused on improving the quality of life in Mapleton-Fall Creek.
A Quality of Life Planning Process coordinated by The Children’s Museum that includes Mapleton-Fall Creek stakeholders is set to commence soon. Though it is too soon to state officially how the rain garden proposal relates to this Plan, a 2008 survey of the Mapleton-Fall Creek residents identified “lack of green space” as a top priority. Data from research studies suggest that green space significantly contributes beneficially to the physical and mental health of its surrounding residents. As a result, MFCDC has secured funding and initiated a plan to develop three pocket parks. In addition, IndyTilth submitted another IPL Project Greenspace application to develop a community garden at 3415 Broadway Street, one block east of Double 8 Foods. The vision stated in the community garden application is to build neighborhood vitality and connectedness through engaging nearby residents in developing, sustaining, and benefiting from a community garden. The community garden will provide a place to grow food and, more importantly, build relationships and a model for healthy living. The garden will be a combination of raised beds and perennial fruits and vegetables, a composting center and a covered eating area, connected by mulched pathways and edged with perennial flowers and herbs. Based on preliminary discussions with Double 8 Foods, the grocery may donate expired produce for the proposed composting center at the garden. IndyTilth also has a KIB NeighborWoods Program grant under review, which proposes to plant approximately 40 trees within two to three blocks of Double 8 Foods, dramatically increasing the tree canopy and further reducing the heat-island effect on our neighborhood. Our vision is to attain lush tree-lined streets and shade for more energy-efficient households and outside enjoyment. Although Mapleton-Fall Creek is an older neighborhood with many large established trees, this is less so the case in the Fairfield Triangle (area between Fairfield Avenue, East 34th Street, and North College Avenue). We hope to address this deficiency with this upcoming tree planting.
This proposal dovetails perfectly with expressed local sentiment and demonstrated need for green infrastructure. Through education about environmentally sound interventions such as rain gardens and cisterns, it will also contribute positively to our neighborhood’s quality of life while complementing other neighborhood greenspace efforts.