In 2008, a capacity building program entitled The S.H.A.R.E. (Services for Human Advancement and Resource Enhancement) envisioned the development of a neighborhood association in the Cold Spring Road area on Indianapolis’s west side. This group, formed by the Masjid (meaning mosque) Al-Fajr Islamic Community, recognized that neighborhood associations are sustainable forms of social networks that empower people to develop their own community. The S.H.A.R.E. organization envisioned an organization that was representative of the community’s diversity and would more effectively plan and implement activities, programs and projects through a comprehensive and coordinated planning and implementation process.
The organization initiated the Cold Springs Road Community Engagement Initiative project and received an IMAGINE grant to support these efforts. They partnered with numerous community stakeholders including Marion University Allison Fellows, IUPUI School of Social Work, the City of Indianapolis, Public Allies Indianapolis, Riverside Civic League, New Life Christian Church, and area businesses. This IMAGINE grant project was launched during the same period as the City of Indianapolis’ 30th Street Corridor planning, providing an opportunity to leverage shared interests.
Four focus group meetings were held throughout the community targeting specific groups such as religious organizations, businesses, etc. Neighborhood residents also attended several 30th Street Corridor plan meetings. During the spring of 2009, a survey was conducted in the neighborhood. The surveys addressed public transportation, public parks, and ideas for neighborhood change, committee formation, and use of neighbors’ individual gifts. 1,600 surveys were distributed with over a 10% response rate. Marian University‘s Allison Fellows performed sixty door-to-door surveys and IUPUI School of Social Work students processed the results.
Several positive results have been realized as a result of the project. First, the Kessler-Wides at 30th Street Neighborhood Association, known as KW30, was born. The new neighborhood association was assisted by the Public Allies Indianapolis Collective Roots team in developing an annual community garage sale and other marketing efforts. Second, a pocket asset-map identifying the neighborhood’s resources and assets was developed and distributed throughout the neighborhood. Third, Marian University committed to hold regular and frequent communications with its neighbors. Marian has engaged the community by sending a representative to the neighborhood meetings and hosting community discussions regarding their expansion plans. In addition, they allow the neighborhood to utilize the University’s’ recycling program. Finally, the group created a shared vision for the City of Indianapolis 30th Street Corridor Plan. The plan can be viewed at the following link: www.indy.gov/west30thplan.
Cold Spring Road Neighborhood Boundaries: 38th Street on the north, 16th Street on the south, Cold Spring Road on the east, and Kessler Boulevard North Drive on the west.