With aims to enhance its connectivity to downtown Indianapolis even further, this Near West place enjoys a growing IT business sector and a commitment from area businesses to create a sense of place from cradle to career.

Just west of Indy’s White River lies a neighborhood that has never been a stranger to hard work. From iron mills to meatpacking, the residents here have strengthened Indianapolis in more ways than imaginable. They’re rolling up their sleeves one more time, after decades of bettering the city, to now better their own prospects. Centered at the intersection of West Michigan Street and King Avenue, River West is a diamond in the rough, ready for a good polish.

The following goals leverage proximity to major Indianapolis attractions and relationships with anchoring partner organizations, as well as technology, arts, and supply chain opportunities as the foundations of this Great Place’s springboard to connectivity.

River West Strategic Plan

River West Abbreviated Strategic Plan

View the River West Scorecard

•  Encourage walking, bicycling, and transit use
•  Provide public spaces that are unique, lively, and authentic to the Near West community
•  Employ crime prevention strategies and enhance public safety efforts
•  Create opportunities to improve public health and access to healthy food
•  Enrich arts and cultural opportunities through promoting community creativity, inviting arts programming, and celebrating Near West history
Enhance the health and wellbeing of residents by creating natural and cultural amenities and improving greenspaces, walkability, and public safety. Establish the B&O Trail to connect from Speedway to Indianapolis; calm W. Michigan Street traffic and introduce bike lanes and bike shares; implement a recreation and parking plan for Bahr Park and improve usability and access to Haughville Park; improve safety by utilizing crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) and enhancing partnership with IMPD; develop art talent in the neighborhood, sponsor street festivals and invite arts programming into the community; and improve health outcomes through better access to fitness, primary care and healthy food resources.
•  Foster an entrepreneurial environment that builds upon the geographic proximity to downtown Indianapolis, 16 Tech, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, IUPUI, and the hospital complex
•  Create infrastructure and develop partnerships to support economic development and employment opportunities
Utilize the area’s existing hardworking spirit to attract entrepreneurs and growing businesses that will create valuable jobs and strengthen the community. Establish a place-based Entrepreneurship Center and support small business development; improve existing retail spaces and create new mixed-use development along W. Michigan Street; explore development of Tech Houses along W. Michigan Street; foster job development by targeting supply chain and workforce development needs of neighboring institutions; and improve infrastructure for business development through Michigan Street corridor free wifi, remediation of brownfields, and street and sidewalk improvements.
•  Increase residential density by providing a variety of housing types with demographic and income diversity
•  Create a beautiful, welcoming neighborhood through reducing blight and abandonment
•  Improve the awareness and marketability of neighborhood housing stock
Use diversified housing, housing renovations, and support to current residents to bring energy to the neighborhoods upon which this Great Place is founded. Promote anchor institution housing incentive programs; increase density by offering a wide variety of housing types to meet the housing needs of residents across varying income levels; renovate homes along Belleview and around the north side of Haughville Park; develop and implement a neighborhood marketing campaign; retain resident diversity and reduce blight through vigorous homeowner repair program, demolition of un-salvageable abandoned homes, and strategic infill.
•  Increase access to quality early childhood education offerings
•  Improve graduation rates at George Washington Community High School
•  Enhance opportunities for adult learning and workforce training
Offer a rich array of educational opportunities to its residents, from cradle to career, to ensure that children, youth, and adults have access to high quality schools, enrichment activities, and training programs. Increase early childhood education offerings; strengthen adult education and workforce development; improve graduation rates at George Washington High School; enhance STEAM offerings at the library, Christamore House, and other out-of-school learning venues.
Interested in getting involved in the efforts of this Great Place? Contact Phil Votaw.