Yesterday morning, I met with Chris Harrell, the Brownfield Redevelopment Coordinator for the City of Indianapolis. Chris is energetic and visionary, and it’s good to have someone like him involved with community redevelopment. Here is a brief run down of the projects that I learned about in this conversation.
- His favorite completed project was the conversion of the abandoned Ertal Manufacturing Corporation into Major Tool and Machine’s new headquarters on Dr. Andrew J Brown and 19th Street, which has helped retain 250 jobs which would have been lost to Ohio, and has even created 49 more jobs. The former site was so contaminated that the surrounding community led a protest march against it.
- An upcoming redevelopment possibility is located at 2110 Columbia Street, where money has been secured from the state to to assess soil and groundwater conditions to transition to urban housing using green building practices. This will be a part of the emerging National Design District. The site is a former junkyard.
- An emerging sector is a movement to turn brownfields into urban agriculture. He has received 9 applications so far. He’s been involved with the urban farming forum, hosted this year on Groundhog Day.
- Mayor Ballard mentioned Urban Farming in his discussion of abandoned properties yesterday – interesting part is city has received increasing amount of urban infill lots and brownfield sites seeking assistance in transitioning to urban farming / urban agriculture reuse. Some are as large as 15 acres.
- Everyone’s favorite foodie store, Goose the Market, is located on a former brownfield. The site was remediated and received a No Further Action letter from the state.
- He organized a brownfield bicycle tour. This site has a picture and brief account of the event.