INDIANAPOLIS — Where the Monon Trail meets 30th Street on the near north side of Indianapolis, a new outdoor entertainment venue is open.
The Monon Development Group's (MDG) innovative $100-million mixed-use development "Monon 30" is beginning to form with the opening of "The Cradle."
Right off of Dr. Andrew J Brown Avenue, The Cradle continues the area's former construction and manufacturing design, blending it with the modish appeal of shipping containers and wooden pallet decking.
A handful of shipping containers comprisecomplete kitchens, while four more shipping containers structure a pallet-stacked stage. Throughout the neighborhood event space are colorful wooden seating arrangements, umbrellas, lights, plants, space for food trucks, a bike rack, games such as corn hole, a beer garden, and a dog park.
The ingenuity of The Cradle is how it molds all it has to offer as a place for the community while also allowing the wide and open space to remain just that: wide and open.
"Mostly, it is an event space for the neighborhood," Zach Wilks, the vice president of operations at The Cradle, told WRTV.
"We are bridging the area between downtown and Broad Ripple, so this is another really cool stop right on the way," Wilks continued. "If you're in Broad Ripple, you can jump on your bike and ride down the Monon. If you're downtown, you can jump on your bike and be up here in a few short minutes as well. Enjoy the entertainment. Enjoy the culinary experience. The beer garden. We've got all kinds of stuff going on — it's really cool."
What to expect at The Cradle
The Cradle is an all-encompassing art and entertainment space where there is dancing, drinking, eating, and playing games.
In the last few weeks since opening, Wilks says anytime he walks over, he's "never not seen anybody with a smile on their face."
The family-friendly entertainment venue is perfectly situated between the historically Black neighborhood of Martindale-Brightwood and the Historic Meridian Park and Mapleton Fall Creek neighborhoods.
"Everybody's having a great time. And it's such a diverse crowd, which is just really awesome, too. We've got people from all walks of life and ethnicities; it's a really good feeling when you walk out and see all that going on here," Wilks said.
The Cradle has chefs from Indy's culinary industry who are featured in the shipping container kitchens on a rotating basis. Other food options include a rotating feature of food trucks.
Any day The Cradle is open, there will be live music from a band or DJ.
The Cradle's beer garden has local and domestic brews and ready-to-drink cocktails by Indy-based Adult Spring Break.
The free community hangout is not only accessible by way of the Monon, as Monon 30 also has a nearby parking lot with 300 parking spaces.
The Cradle at Monon 30 is currently only open on Friday and Saturdays but will soon be open on Thursdays and Sundays as well. On Sundays, they plan to host a farmer's market.
Wilks says MDG wants to see this area of Indy's north side revived from its decades-long blight.
"In the '40s and '50s, this was one of the strongest commerce centers in Indianapolis, and the city has neglected it for a long time. And it's just a great opportunity to really breathe some life into this area and bring it back," Wilks said.
More to come at Monon 30
The Cradle is only the first phase of Monon 30.
MDG's massive mixed-use development will span from 30th Street to 38th Street with all it has planned.
In addition to The Cradle, MDG plans to build a 2,500-seat amphitheater called "Pickle Factory," as it's the site of a former pickle factory plant.
Monon 30 will also have an apartment complex with 220 units called "The Domino," a section of townhomes, and 300 single-family homes.
Perhaps the project soonest to finish will be the 25,000-square-foot indoor space at The Cradle that will be modeled similarly to the outdoor event space, allowing for the extended weekend fun offered during the summer to also be provided in the winter.
"Lots of people listening to music and eating and drinking and enjoying the community ... that's basically why we're here," Wilks said.
WRTV Digital Reporter Shakkira Harris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow her on Twitter, @shakkirasays.