Indy Winter Farmers Market needs support tonight

I have been forwarded an e-mail from the person in charge of the Winter Farmers Market. I will be attending and I will post it here for anyone who is interested:

Dear friends (this is a long email, but please read all the way through – it’s important),
Thanks to those who have sent letters of support. However, the ante has been raised and
the Indy Winter Farmers Market needs your support at the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission meeting tonight.

Despite the overwhelming support of the Chatham Arch Neighborhood Association in a vote of membership last Tuesday, one individual resident continues to fight everything that happens with the development of the Chatham Center. This matter is of too great importance to the market and community for one individual to keep the market from happening in this specific location.

We have been working tirelessly for the several weeks to ensure the market can locate to Chatham Arch from Nov. 14th through April 24th, on Saturdays for a period of only 5 hours. We have gone door to door talking to Chatham Arch neighbors and business owners to explain the goals and mission of the market. OVERWHELMING we have been received with graciousness, excitement, and gratitude for bringing the services of this valuable community event into the heart of Indianapolis’ historic neighborhoods.

Why have we been working so hard on this location? Quite simply because we want to create the most welcoming winter market possible, a market that attracts the very best farmers and vendors, and a place that folks look forward to visiting and shopping each week. To that extent, we believe that the physical space of the market is a critically important factor. According to you – our patrons and our vendors – the market should be in a residential area, without being in the center of residential streets. It needs to be on a frequently traveled road that is easy to find without being on road that feels like an inner-city highway. The space needs to be well-lit with lots of windows and natural light, to make the market experience as good as possible for farmers and shoppers and to be highly visible to attract new shoppers into the market. The entry should be direct from the street so that it is accessible to all people, and so that there is no confusion as to the location of the market. And the market should have easy and plentiful parking.

Although we were generously offered and did consider roughly a dozen possible locations, Chatham Center was the only location that met all these criteria. Thus, we determined that this space was the optimal location for the 2009-2010 market season. In addition, IWFM has strong support in the building’s owner Larry Jones (who also owns the building used last year), a weekly shopper at IWFM.

IWFM is not set up as a non-profit entity (frankly there has not been the time or money to do so), but I assure you, profit is the last thing driving this project for the IWFM organizers. We set up the market because we saw a need for better local food access downtown, and we heard people wondering where they would go for local food in town when the summer markets ended. The IWFM quickly became an effort about building community around local food and the producers of this food. Last year the IWFM helped support nearly forty families through the winter who were our farmers and vendors. This year the IWFM will support nearly fifty.

Additionally, we have been working closely with Indianapolis Downtown Inc. and the Mass Ave. Merchants Association so that IWFM becomes not only a tool for building our local food community but also a tool for promoting downtown Indianapolis and the locally-owned businesses that operate there.

In closing, the market is truly a community event, thus we need your help tonight. PLEASE attend the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission (IHPC) hearing and ask them first to hear our case and second to vote to approve the temporary variance modification for the IWFM to operate at 901 N. East St

The hearing details are as follows:
Wednesday (TONIGHT), October 7th, 5:30 pm
Location: City-County Building

Public Assembly Room, 2nd floor, 200 E. Washington Street

Please know, the market will happen but having to move location will only take time and energy away from building the best market possible

We sincerely hope to see you tonight.
Laura Henderson
IWFM Founder

Comments 15


    You have got to be kidding me, people. I guess the case up in Meridian Kessler neighborhood, where neighbors are in opposition to Cafe Patachou acquiring a permit to allow al fresco dining, proves that there are still too many Indy natives who severely suffer from NIMBY syndrome!! You people should be ashamed of yourselves…after you all wake up from the dead!

  • This is quite odd, a single Chatham Arch resident? Can the rest of the neighborhood collectively 'subdue' this person? Although I don't live in Chatham Arch, I live close, and a winter maket would be sweet!

  • This neighbor is a lawyer and is good at exploiting loopholes, it seems. In other words, get your veggies out of my backyard…I guess.

  • I remember when we met at that IHPC meeting when this project was originally accepted, they had a pretty specific list of retail uses that were acceptable to the neighborhood association. Some of the excluded uses seemed very odd, as I recall. Maybe this guy was behind that original usage list?

    So, what was the outcome?

  • Yup, you're correct Corr.

    The motion for temporary variance passed. The Winter Market is on!

  • Great to hear about the Winter Market being approved!
    It's safe to say people like Paula Light and Clay Miller have nothing better to do these days but accept crime in our isolated (BUT HOPEFULLY CONTINUOUSLY DEVELOPING) neighborhoods in this city. These people always complain about theft and vandalism in their neighborhoods but will never accept the fact that this happens because of a LACK OF DEVELOPMENT within the homogenous, single family dwelling areas in which they live. Criminals are going to places with very little to no activity 98% of the time—FACE IT!! Anybody who is anti higher density/mixed use development in Indianapolis should seriously consider the many suburbs out there…where you can all escape to your sterile, lifeless wastelands and sit in your isolated environs with no worries! The plague of suburban elitism downtown would eventually diminish then, THANK GOODNESS!!!

  • Anon, one thing isn't like the other here. Martha Hoover, Bryan Chandler, and John Bales aren't Laura Henderson and Larry Jones. Not by a longshot. The MK neighbors have every right to be concerned, and the Chatham Arch folks have nothing to worry about.

  • Finally: battling anonymouses!

    I strongly support both projects.

  • Anon 2:56
    I totally agree with you about the two different issues. However, you really don't agree with me that both are totally NIMBY based? Kevin obviously supports both projects as do we, but what other legitimate concerns for say…MK neighbors–besides noise and parking–have about the addition of outdoor dining on the corner of 49th and Pennsylvania? It will only make a vibrant corner more vibrant. It's not like they're putting in a strip joint! I would love to hear your opinions. Thanks.
    (by the way, I do not know Larry Jones, Luara Henderson, Martha Hoover, Bryan Chandler or John Bales. I just enjoy the thought of Indianapolis neighborhoods developing into more vibrant, sustainable, and urban environments.

  • anon 2:56 here:

    The 49th & Penn issue is one of intensification of use. That corner has been a neighborhood node for 60 or 70 years. Now the owners want to jack up rents, run off the neighborhood-serving businesses, and put in high-margin "destination" businesses…two large restaurants seating dozens and dozens of people.

    That means a greater need for longer-term parking, since fewer people would be walking in, and fewer would be stopping in for just a few minutes.

    They also want to leave about six feet of sidewalk outside their deck on 49th, an uncomfortably confined and narrow walking space for a neighbor with kids and a stroller or someone out walking a dog.

    I support al fresco dining as much as the next guy, but there are limits to private use of the public way that need to be imposed.

    This kind of intensification of development happens all the time on College Ave…which is where it belongs, as that street is a true "mixed use" area.

    Compare 49th & Penn in aerials to 56th & Illinois. With the drugstore, grocery, bank, and liquor store, there's plenty of parking at that corner to support the intensity of uses that have migrated there: two cafes and a sit-down restaurant. No similar surplus of evening parking exists at 49th & Penn.

    Not every re-development is good, or good for a neighborhood. Not every re-development is progress. 49th & Penn is one such development as it has been proposed. There are probably some limits that can be placed on it to give both the neighbors and the developers some "victory" and some peace.

    In other words, my attitude is that cooler heads should prevail and the dug-in restaurant operator, developer, and neighbors should back down; neither side should get their own way entirely. Until someone demonstrates a willingness to compromise, the story will continue to be the "evil developer vs. the NIMBY". Neither is really too attractive to the rest of us.

  • I totally agree with intensification issues of parking for evening hours only. I thought Cafe P was only breakfast and lunch and the Pizza joint would be the only evening business on that whole intersection? Or am I wrong? If I looked at an aerial all I would notice is how much space is wasted and underutilized… which is a classic example of "things done backwards in Indy." Unfortunately for Indianapolis to make progress and to provide the necessary services that MK residents deserve(like supporting small, independent businesses on 49th and Pennsylvania), we have to fess up and learn from our past planning mistakes and realize we have to pay a price somewhere to FIX the PROBLEM. I believe this project stimulating intensification will just benefit most people, especially in the future. Although you are right about rents being jacked up. But in this case it's worth it because it's the prime established commercial node in Meridian Kessler! Don't you think a greater mass of people utilizing a given area will only help change or eventually fix these issues of proper sidewalk width for pedestrians, proper parking, security…etc. For this issue to come up in this given area just seems a bit too extreme for me. There is plenty of space, IT'S JUST NOT UTILIZED PROPERLY. I have not done an inventory of current businesses that make up that intersection for a while. It just seems like a fairly dead, underutilized area for what it should be and would argue that many businesses can't survive there because of low density standards. And I don't think College Avenue should be the sole commercial strip in all of MK (nor should keystone at the crossing and castleton).

    So all in all, I agree with you but also think there are way worst things happening in our world today. Like I heard the other day from a long time Indy resident. "It's hard to convince people to change in the land of broad lawns and narrow minds." I would have to agree.

  • Here's the thing about College: it's a 15-minute max walk from almost any street in MK other than Meridian. Even from Penn. "Mixed use" at neighborhood scale means to me that the more-intensive uses should be at College. And older neighborhoods need some places where rent ISN'T $25-35 a foot, where entrepreneurs can move into Class-C space. That's how College got revitalized.

    Finally…the thing that overwhelms 49th & Penn with the impression of dog-eared and "underutilized space" isn't the four or five small commercial buildings, it's the auto-related uses across the street both west and south from the structure in question.

    (Even then, it's really nice to be able to walk home from the mechanic's shop after you drop your car off.)

  • Great point about College being a 15 minute walk from many areas of MK.

    Unfortunately, the perception of this 15 minute walk to Indianapolis residents is that it is much further. Indianapolis is not walkable overall. And MK is one one of the top three walkable neighborhood environments in all of Indy! The car culture dominates any sort of neighborhood/community feel. Am I proposing Indy turning into a large, metropolitan city without our vehicles? Of course not. I'm proposing higher density , mixed use intensification to a certain small percentage just to enhance livability in Indy. It would def. be more attractive to outsiders which would be a great marketing tool for our city. Plus, more people would actually make that '15' minute walk more often.

    For this city to move forward, it has to make the small changes to transform the perception about not just city living–but living in the city limits of Indianapolis. It would not take a 'cultural trail to accomplish this either. We shouldn't just sit back and rely solely on downtown to be the model for future urban friendly re-development.

    All I can say is Indianapolis will only grow with density. Convenience is over-rated…plus it makes me lazy.

  • You've made my point for me: replacing neighborhood-serving small retail shops with destination dining increases the car trips to the corner of 49th & Penn with exactly zero increase in density.

  • I guess we'll see what this increased activity will do for the area in the near future. When has Cafe P not been 'neighborhood serving'? And what makes a prime corner space setting vacant or filled with a pretentious neighborhood serving business (Ummm, what was that? CORKS or something like that?!) better than destination dining? Please. It will be nice to have thriving businesses on 49th and Penn for once.

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