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Group plans reuse of historic former elementary school

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A former elementary school built in 1905 is getting a new use for the second time since schoolchildren departed for good in 1979.

Englewood Community Development Corp. plans to redevelop the former Lucretia Mott School No. 3 at 23 N. Rural St. into 32 apartments in partnership with the John H. Boner Community Center. The units, ranging from efficiencies to three-bedrooms, will be marketed to people at a variety of income levels.

From 1984 to 2009, the former school served as a shelter for women and children operated by Wheeler Mission Ministries, which gave the building to Englewood Community Development Corp. after it moved out, said Joe Bowling, an Englewood board member.

The group plans to spend between $6 million and $7 million to renovate the building, which will be dubbed The CommonWealth.

"We believe that creating diverse, mixed-income and mixed-use communities where each neighbor is asked to give and support one another yields a true 'wealth' or richness to our neighborhoods," Bowling wrote in an e-mail. "What that means specifically for residents of The CommonWealth is still being developed, but we envision asking residents to do more than sign a lease. We’d like them to make some commitment beyond themselves to improve the community in which they will reside."

The group had hoped to use the first floor of the building as offices for not-for-profit groups but could not find enough interest, so it opted for an entirely residential project. Residents will have access to a gymnasium and other public spaces, Bowling said.

The 1.4-acre property is surrounded by Englewood Christian Church to the north, a Pizza Hut and an Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library branch to the south, and single-family homes to the east and west.

The city's planning staff recommended approval of the change in use with a handful of conditions. Among them: the building must not be torn down, the owner must work out a shared parking agreement with the church (the building has 31 spaces, fewer than the code requires), no driveway is allowed on Rural Street, and trees at the northwest and southwest corners of the site should be saved.

Members of the Metropolitan Development Commission OK'd the project Wednesday.

The apartments will be divided roughly evenly between market rate units, low to moderate income units, and units for chronically homeless individuals or families with a diagnosed mental illness (services to be provided by Adult & Child).

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  • Great Project!
    This is a terrific project for the Eastside. Congrats to Englewood for pulling this together.

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  1. If I were a developer I would be looking at the Fountain Square and Fletcher Place neighborhoods instead of Broad Ripple. I would avoid the dysfunctional BRVA with all of their headaches. It's like deciding between a Blackberry or an iPhone 5s smartphone. BR is greatly in need of updates. It has become stale and outdated. Whereas Fountain Square, Fletcher Place and Mass Ave have become the "new" Broad Ripples. Every time I see people on the strip in BR on the weekend I want to ask them, "How is it you are not familiar with Fountain Square or Mass Ave? You have choices and you choose BR?" Long vacant storefronts like the old Scholar's Inn Bake House and ZA, both on prominent corners, hurt the village's image. Many business on the strip could use updated facades. Cigarette butt covered sidewalks and graffiti covered walls don't help either. The whole strip just looks like it needs to be power washed. I know there is more to the BRV than the 700-1100 blocks of Broad Ripple Ave, but that is what people see when they think of BR. It will always be a nice place live, but is quickly becoming a not-so-nice place to visit.

  2. I sure hope so and would gladly join a law suit against them. They flat out rob people and their little punk scam artist telephone losers actually enjoy it. I would love to run into one of them some day!!

  3. Biggest scam ever!! Took 307 out of my bank ac count. Never received a single call! They prey on new small business and flat out rob them! Do not sign up with these thieves. I filed a complaint with the ftc. I suggest doing the same ic they robbed you too.

  4. Woohoo! We're #200!!! Absolutely disgusting. Bring on the congestion. Indianapolis NEEDS it.

  5. So Westfield invested about $30M in developing Grand Park and attendance to date is good enough that local hotel can't meet the demand. Carmel invested $180M in the Palladium - which generates zero hotel demand for its casino acts. Which Mayor made the better decision?

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