INDIANAPOLIS — A new community center is coming to the northwest side of Indianapolis. It’s one of several revitalization projects planned in the area.
“When there is light, there is hope, and that’s what’s happening in this community right now. The redevelopment process is taking place,” Doris Minton-McNeil, President of the West Side Neighborhood Association, said.
Minton-McNeil has lived on the west side of Indianapolis for years. She says this development is what the community needs, especially as many plans include revitalizing old, blighted buildings.
“We want to see our neighborhood thrive,” Minton-McNeil said. “We don’t want to see it go to dust, so whatever they can do to make our neighborhood a better place to live in, I’m happy with. I am all for it.”
The community center will offer a variety of services.
According to the executive director, there will be programming for both seniors and kids. They also hope to have career resources for those in the community. The center will tailor its programming to whatever the community needs.
“We kept going to these neighborhood associations and schools and churches, and we kept hearing the need for a community center, so that was our number one priority,” Susan Decker, Executive Director of the International District Community Center, said. “We are back to that listening portion of what does the community really need. The programs will change and evolve over time.”
The International District Community Center is the first of many developments in the area.
Fabio de la Cruz is helping redevelop the area and has some big plans. He says he chose this side of the city because it helped him get his start in real estate.
“We have more than 300 acres of commercial real estate in the neighborhood, which is why we own most of the neighborhood,” Cruz, the developer and CEO of Sojos Capital, said.
Cruz has invested $1 million into the redevelopment of the community center, but he has also helped revitalize several strip malls in the area too. His biggest undertaking is going to be the Lafayette Square Mall.
“The first idea I had when I bought the mall was to have these big box stores converted into an apartment complex, a boutique hotel, a corporate office, etc.,” Cruz said. “Let’s have the hall of the mall be like the streets, as if they were streets of a neighborhood.”
As for the rest of the community, they hope it’ll bring positive change.
“The more community centers, the more resources that are available to those of us that live in this community,” Minton-McNeil said. “Some areas where there are empty buildings, those buildings have been empty for many years. Now to see life coming back to this community is a great thing, so I’m really happy about it.”
The community center is set to open during the first few months of 2024.
We’re told the mall should be open in the next two years, but we weren’t given a definite timeline or price tag for the entire project.
The developer says they plan on having renderings to present to the city within the next six months.