Why Dreamers Love Indianapolis
Last Friday, I walked into the old City Hall, an imposing edifice downtown built from Indiana limestone. Now transformed into The Hall, the building has played an important role in Indy’s history. Constructed in the early 1900s to symbolize “the stability and achievements of the city,” the Hall housed government offices, the State Museum, and Central Library. It was an essential building until 2008, when after almost 100 years of use it sat vacant. Thanks to a local nonprofit, in 2014 old City Hall became The Hall and now serves as a meeting space for community-based initiatives.
Now, I am a city girl through and through. I have a Vonnegut doll, a penchant for eating too much Bazbeaux pizza, and a passion for promoting progress in Naptown. That’s how I found myself at The Hall for Indy 5X5 – re:Purpose, an event that’s part of a bigger plan to strengthen the community.
Here’s the rundown: Indy 5X5 chooses five presenters to share their ideas for “repurposing urban waste into assets,” community members vote for a favorite, and the winner walks away with $10,000 toward his/her project. Sounds riveting, right? As much as I thought this was an awesome way to spend my Friday evening, I was hardly expecting a large crowd.
Boy, was I mistaken. Every folding chair on the expansive marble floor was occupied; small groups stood along the back wall and in doorways leading to halls under construction. Around the room, community members networked and spoke of Indy’s potential. When it was time for 5X5, we all squeezed into the dense rows of flimsy chairs and held tight our voting tickets for the end of the evening.
The presenters’ projects varied in size and scope, but shared a common vision of community collaboration. The winning park project, E.N.G.I.N.E, centers on repurposing a Bonneville into artwork that celebrates the community’s Hispanic heritage. This park project fills a spot that has been long empty, and will allow youth in the Near Westside to have both a safe place to play and a space that embraces culture.
When I got home, I sat at my small kitchen table, looked at my limestone Indiana paperweight, and began to dream up my own projects for the city.
So why do dreamers love Indianapolis? Because when I walked into The Hall on Friday, I saw a community gathered together for a noble cause. I saw The Hall repurposed from a vacant building into a haven for innovative pursuits. Finally, I saw a start-up group with a great idea given the opportunity to benefit its neighborhood in a big way!
Our vast network of nonprofits and committed government officials allows community members with great ideas to uniquely repurpose Indianapolis.
I am proud to be part of one such nonprofit that is encouraging and innovative in its community pursuits. As we speak, MCCOY is working on some very exciting stuff including a revamped Youth Advocacy Council, the Family Access Network services center, and of course much, much more!
For more information, visit www.mccoyouth.org 🙂
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