Rosedale Hills is a neighborhood on Indianapolis’ south side. It’s a quiet, tree-lined community just south of the University of Indianapolis. But like many older neighborhoods around the city, Rosedale Hills has faced its challenges. Though a pleasant place to call home, the neighborhood has long lacked a distinct identity and has dealt with quality of life issues like petty crime, walkability and access to green space.
These were challenges that didn’t go unnoticed by one of the neighborhood’s newest residents. Bryan Hannon and his family moved to Rosedale Hills in 2012, but quickly noticed the neighborhood lacked any formal organization through which to address these concerns. So he got to work.
Working closely with the Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center, a United Way agency, Hannon spent the better part of the summer talking to neighbors at their doors about shared concerns and gauging interest in beginning a neighborhood organization.
To get the process started, INRC staff provided Hannon with guidance on conducting community surveys, setting meeting agendas and having difficult conversations. The response from neighbors was overwhelmingly positive with a total of 36 people in attendance for the first meeting, including elected officials and public safety officials. INRC staff was also there to help facilitate the conversation.
For the first time in many years, neighbors had the opportunity to collectively share their concerns with their elected officials and petition for more resources for some of the neighborhood’s most pressing needs. For many, the benefits of a neighborhood meeting were obvious. And after one meeting, it was clear there was momentum for more neighborhood engagement.
Throughout the fall of 2015, Hannon continued working with INRC on developing strategies for sustaining the momentum. Assistance with bylaws, board development and networking opportunities provided Hannon and his neighbors with the guidance they needed for future growth.
Today, the Rosedale Hills Neighborhood Organization has held five meetings, all with attendance of at least 35 neighbors. And neighbors have seen the results. Working in close partnership with elected officials and city representatives, neighbors have successfully addressed problems ranging from drug activity to potholes.
With an eye toward the future, the neighborhood is now considering new activities to deepen the sense of community. Neighborhood cookouts, cleanups, pocket parks and fundraisers are all on the crowded agenda for 2016.
Thanks to the help of United Way agencies like the Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center, there are neighborhoods around the city that are rediscovering their sense of community and building a better future.