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Meridian-Kessler neighbors fighting to keep a local automotive business open

Posted at 10:38 PM, Apr 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-29 23:18:24-04

INDIANAPOLIS —People living in a north side neighborhood are fighting to keep a long-time automotive business in their Meridian-Kessler community. It will soon have to close its door and relocate, but it's not happening without a fight from those who live in the area.

For 45 years Ty Tarr, owner of Ty's Automotive, has been serving the community in the Meridian-Kessler neighborhood.

"Since I was eight, my father started in 74 [1974]. Started getting a paycheck in 1980," Tarr said.

Tarr's automotive store is connected to a small Circle K and Shell gas station on the corner of 49th Street and Pennsylvania Street.

"That business will have been here and survived it longer than any other business in this neighborhood. That tells you how important that business is to this local community," Terry Sanderson, a customer of the automotive business and Meridian-Kessler resident, said. "We want to keep Ty.... we do not want a convenience store."

Circle K is choosing not to renew Tarr's lease, which expires in August. Instead, they plan to expand the convenience store, thus eliminating the automotive shop.

"They want to put in a convenience store that is a target for crime, loitering, panhandling and additional traffic congestion," Sanderson said. "That is not what this neighborhood wants; it's not what they need."

"I've known for a couple of years. They told me a couple of years ago that they didn't want to renew my lease," Tarr explained. "I've been exploring all of the options, and now it's crunch time, and we have to do something."

The Meridian-Kessler Neighborhood Association has been voicing their opinion to Circle K about the value Ty's Automotive shop brings to the neighborhood. But a spokesman says the unit is one of the last in Circle K locations that includes a mechanic shop and they are moving away from this model. They want to expand to be able to provide standard products for a neighborhood convenience store, including milk, bread, and other staples.

Currently, the company does not plan to renew Tarr's lease. But people living in the Meridian-Kessler neighborhood hope it's not too late to persuade them to keep his shop open.

On Tuesday, April 30 a meeting is being held at 6 p.m. at the Indianapolis Public Library on North College Avenue, at which Circle K has been invited.

Circle K has agreed to the following as they expand the convenience store:

  • To follow the Meridian-Kessler Neighborhood Plan and use building materials consistent with surrounding architecture (i.e. red brick, black awnings, larger windows, etc.)
  • To follow all Meridian Street Preservation Commission rules and regulations
  • To stay within the existing structural footprint of the current building
  • To improve the current ingress and egress of the site for increased pedestrian and motorist safety
  • To relocate the restrooms to the interior of the structure rather than outside the building
  • To improve street and landscape on the property
  • To maintain operating hours in line with standard neighborhood practices and proactively address safety concerns on the site
  • To not install an overhead canopy on the site
  • To actively engage with neighborhoods and the neighborhood association on ways to improve operations, product offering, etc. throughout construction and upon the completion of the project

The Meridian-Kessler Neighborhood Association is working to help Tarr find a place to relocate within the area, so he can continue serving the community. The group is also working with Circle K on the improvement plans to fit the needs of the neighborhood.

Indianapolis Public Library - North College Avenue
4180 North College Avenue, Indianapolis, Indiana 26205