INDIANAPOLIS — It is no secret that the east side of Indianapolis has seen better days.
With every school and grocery store closure, abandoned building and senseless act of violence comes the question: What is going on here on the east side and when will it get better?
"What's going on is unfortunately, disputes often turn into and the conflict resolution tends to be a gun too often today and that's the culture we're trying to change," Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said.
As he walks through the Meridian Park neighborhood, Hogsett is looking for ways to make his city better, including on the east side where the murders of two siblings have put a spotlight on the problems beyond gun violence that residents say are plaguing the east side community.
"Indianapolis didn't used to have this kind of crime and I believe that we can change that if we look at the underlying issues," Indianapolis City-County Council member La Keisha Jackson said. "If we look at livable wages, economic development, affordable housing, quality housing, investment into our neighborhoods. Putting our people first and I'll believe we'll see change."
While the streets of the east side were not the roads the mayor walked Wednesday night, Hogsett said, even at City Hall, he can hear and is listening to the cries for more investment on Indianapolis' east side.
"Whether its investing in food insecurity, food access. Whether its investing in affordable housing, whether its the efforts we're making to tear down Towne Terrace. Those are investments that are improving the quality of life and the quality of place on the far east side," Hogsett said.
The people who call the east side home said it is not any one person or a single organization that can fix their community. They said it will take a collective effort to make the east side feel like a priority.
"It takes a village to redirect the violence in our communities, to revitalize our communities," Derris Ross said. "Don't think because your kids are doing the right thing in the community, going to school, doing great things, that doesn't change the environment. Until you get involved and address the environmental issues, then your kids are at risk."