Renew Indianapolis—the organization formerly known as the Indianapolis Land Bank—is joining forces with King Park Development Corp.
The community development and revitalization organizations announced their merger, effective Jan. 1, at an Indianapolis Metropolitan Development Commission meeting Wednesday.
Renew Indianapolis was created in 2014 from the ashes of the long-troubled Land Bank, a city office that was charged with returning vacant and tax-delinquent properties to the city’s tax rolls.
King Park Development Corp. was founded in 1987 by area residents to improve housing, economic development and quality of life in the King Park area, which includes the Old Northside, Herron-Morton Place, Kennedy-King, Reagan Park, Fall Creek Place, Friends & Neighbors and Crosstown.
King Park also operates the Build Fund and Edge Fund, community development financial institutions that provide lending to spur economic development and promote and connect residents to affordable housing.
Beginning in January, the organizations will operate as one, with a joint 15-member board of directors and a four-person executive leadership team that includes Bruce Baird, Renew’s executive director, and Steven Meyer, executive director of King Park.
“We think we’re going to be bigger and stronger together,” Baird told the MDC. “We’ll be a dynamic organization that can do a lot of things that we could not do as separate organizations.”
Meyer said the organizations already work together on many projects, and their service areas and philosophies align.
The merger will allow King Park to take its organization citywide and together the two organizations will be able to provide comprehensive community development services. There are several neighborhoods not represented by a community development organization, Meyer said.
The merged organization, which will go by the name Renew Indianapolis Inc., will focus on:
- Revitalizing communities by renovating, building and financing affordable housing;
- Driving economic growth and sustainability with business lending and services;
- Impacting and contributing to the quality of life of central Indiana residents;
- Connecting those willing to invest in the future to available properties through the land bank.
This year, Renew’s residential land bank has closed on the sale of 195 houses and lots, with another 90 approved and in the pipeline to close, Baird said.
As for the commercial-industrial land bank, a joint venture of the Department of Metropolitan Development and Renew Indianapolis to market and sell blighted industrial sites around the city, six sites are currently listed and active.