Neighborhood effort Lift Indy launches with $4.5M investment

The Monon16 area on the near-north side of Indianapolis will receive $4.5 million over the next three years as part of a new community development program launched by Mayor Joe Hogsett on Thursday.

Monon16, which is the area immediately surrounding the intersection of 16th Street and the Monon Trail, was the first Indianapolis neighborhood selected as part of the Lift Indy program. The city plans to select a new neighborhood each year to receive federal community development funds.

"As a first-of-its-kind investment strategy for Indianapolis, Lift Indy allows us to concentrate significant funding toward addressing neighborhood challenges and sustaining healthy communities," Mayor Joe Hogsett said in a press release.

Hogsett said the program is a “long-term strategy to elevate all of Indianapolis’ neighborhoods, for the betterment of all people in our city.”

The investment, culled from two U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grants, is designated by the city to support economic development, the development of affordable housing, creative peacemaking, social services, infrastructure, public amenities, social engagement, and other quality of life programs.

Hogsett spokeswoman Taylor Schaffer said HUD funding in the past has been allocated like "a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, spreading it evenly and thinly across a piece of bread."

Lift Indy is instead an effort to "do a really concentrated investment … to make a fundamental shift within that community," Schaffer said. The program is utilizing some—but not all—of the HUD money that Indianapolis receives. Grant funds also will be available for other areas.

The city used data to identify Monon16 as the first project area, noting that it has “strong market potential.” There is nearly $50 million invested in current projects within the area with another 12 projects planned.

Monon16 is part of the King-Kennedy neighborhood, which is supported by the not-for-profit development group King Park Development Corp.

“Lift Indy is an opportunity for King Park and our partners to have a transformational impact on the Monon16 area,” said Steven Meyer, executive director of King Park Development Corp.

"The City’s investment into comprehensive community development will leave a legacy of inclusiveness in the Monon16 area that continues well beyond the Lift Indy program," he said.

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