Fringe Alley Project

The Indy Fringe Festival headquarters at St. Clair and College has undergone a transformation in the past four years.

Now finished with the restoration of the long-unloved church building, the organization has not stopped there.  The first project in Phase II was to restore the brick alley (known as Spring Street) to help with drainage and water reclamation for their green space.  The installation of the new bricks was originally denied by the Historic Preservation Commission, but that denial was reversed after the staff learned of the drainage issues which would have impeded the Fringe’s next plans for the space.  The Fringe also committed to saving the old bricks for later use in the Chatham Arch neighborhood.  Here is a look at the completed alley:

Next they will move on to building their Trailhead addition, which will include the first public restrooms along the Cultural Trail, as well as a community theater:

It is a win for a non-profit arts organization to be this invested in the community. The Festival is evolving from a small yearly event to something much bigger, and can be pointed to as a success for the Indianapolis Arts Scene.

Comments 8

  • Hopefully the city can work with organizations like this to make better connections to the near east side. Holy Cross and Cottage Home have a lot to offer, but it can be a bit tricky navigating to and from the city with the interstate and railroads……..good project though.

  • I agree with Joe, and I commented recently on this issue of connections from the near east side to downtown in another forum. The work under the 10th Street freeway overpass was a good start and really helped make that a more attractive gateway. I would like to see the Michigan, Vermont, & New York underpasses spruced up now. Not sure on the engineering/design specifics, but I’d love to see someone explore some type of noise insulation under the bridges, along with aesthetic improvements such as murals and some better lighting. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t have to be that noisy under the bridges, which makes it very uninviting to walk under, but I presume INDOT doesn’t worry about such things unless there is a lot of outcry to do something different.

  • I just moved to Chatham Arch from Cottage Home, but when I lived there I worked with KIB to get them to plant trees on Davidson between Mass Ave and St Clair and then to the railroad tracks on St Clair.

    I tried desperately working with Councilman Mahern and DPW to get a sidewalk installed at the same time to create a safe walking connector between the east end of Mass Ave and Cottage Home, but it fell on deaf ears. As did my efforts to get the city to request a quiet zone designation for downtown tracks so that we could have a lower volume and reduced frequency on the CSX train signals. No one seems to “own” the development of this area … or care much about it.

    Davidson as a connector needs some more attention since the Mayflower people often treat the street and the sidewalks as a part of their parking lot. That probably isn’t a sustainable approach given the increased traffic in that area, nor should they be allowed to do so on public property. And when CSX added the crossarms heading into Cottage Home their paving and gravel work left deep gaps that require residents to walk on the lane of traffic in order to get across, something that should not have been allowed.

  • How will noise reduction happen? Personally I have never seen such a project before.

  • Brandon: I don’t know the ins and outs of it as the federal documentation was far more than I could get my arms around.

    But when I spoke with CSX, they said major cities often petition and are granted quiet zone designations for specific areas of track that allow CSX to alter how their engineers use their horns. I was left with the impression that it was both in terms of volume and duration of the horn signal. Given how the CSX tracks wind through so many residential areas, it seems like it would be a very positive thing to have done, and the CSX contact said he was surprised Indy had never pursued it.

    It struck me that this is something the mayor’s staff should coordinate and apply for rather than it being done by any individual citizen, but I could never get it on their radar screen. Maybe someone with direct contacts or clout could do so.

    • Jeff,

      I just recently learned about the ability to have a quiet zone designation, and agree that it would be something that would be very beneficial to the neighborhoods near the CSX tracks, especially as the volume of trains appears to be increaing. Can you still hear the train horns in Chatham Arch?

      • From what I read, it was my understanding that, after installation of crossing gates that can’t be driven around, the trains would not ever blow their horns unless they see a person, car, etc. on the tracks. Perhaps they would regularly ring a bell similar to what you often hear from some light rail trains as they approach crossings.

        • You can still hear some of the horns in Chatham Arch, but not nearly like other downtown neighborhoods that are right on top of the tracks. I helped get the cross arms installed going to/from Cottage Home so it can be done if other neighborhoods would need to do the same for a zone to be declared.

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