A group whose mission is to make the area near West 38th Street and Lafayette Road a cultural district destination has hired its first full-time executive director.
Mary Chalmers, a neighborhood liaison for the city, will leave that post to lead the Lafayette Square Area Coalition as the group strives to improve the area through infrastructure upgrades and other efforts.
The area, a former retail hotbed anchored by Lafayette Square Mall, has seen its share of vacant storefronts the last 20 years, but it has benefited recently from an influx of international restaurants and other small businesses.
Efforts to transform the district have been slow to get off the ground, but last spring, the city hired a project manager for beautification efforts such as murals and landscaping. Those will be funded in part by sales-tax collections captured in an area redevelopment district, which has collected more than $2.25 million.
Chalmers’ position also will be initially funded in part by that captured money, as well as groups such as The Indianapolis Foundation and Local Initiatives Support Corp.
Chalmers will begin the job Oct. 17. Westview Hospital has donated office space at 3610 Guion Road for the coalition’s use.