Operation My Indy: Beech Grove
I am delighted to serve as the new president of Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, an organization we both love. Since I am new to Indy, part of my journey to explore the city involves staying at Airbnbs in different neighborhoods. As I share my thoughts and experiences, I hope that you will provide your own suggestions!
My adventures traveling around the Marion County have taken me from the center of the City of Indianapolis to Irvington in the East, Speedway in the West, Geist in the Northeast, and Eagle Creek in the Northwest, but I had not yet really started to explore the South Side until now. This week, I stayed in Beech Grove—named for a former abundance of beech trees in the area.
Our IPL Project GreenSpace program specializes in turning underutilized spaces into ecologically rich public spaces where people and nature can thrive. We create and restore native habitat, connect the community to nature, and create happy patches of green.
One of my favorite GreenSpaces we’ve created is in Beech Grove, at the Benedict Inn Peace and Nature Center.
We worked with the Sisters of St. Benedict to create a three-acre park that provides an inviting place for the Sisters, visitors, and community members to reflect, meditate, and connect to nature. It is beautiful every season of the year. I walked the park in winter, and though not much was green or vibrant on that frosty morning, I heard the sounds of birds in the brush, walked from one art installation to another, and slowed my breath in meditation. It was incredibly peaceful and beautiful.
We are returning to Beech Grove to create another GreenSpace in 2020, this time at Sarah T. Bolton Park. Sarah T. Bolton was a notable poet and women’s rights activist in the 1800s and lived in Beech Grove. Stay tuned to learn more about our plans for the park in the months ahead.
One of my favorite dining experiences this week happened at Napoli Villa. It immediately reminded me dining with my family at a favorite Italian restaurant in Bethesda, Maryland. The place was crowded on Tuesday night, and I enjoyed my meal of Pollo “Gino-vese.” I didn’t ask who Gino was, but I commend him for the dish!
My host this week owns two separate homes in Beech Grove, where she rents out rooms on Airbnb. She also manages over a dozen Speedway gas stations from Indy down to Bloomington. One of the issues she faces is crime that takes place in alleys behind some of her stores. I mentioned that KIB planted a row of trees behind a gas station at the corner of Washington and State Streets in the Arsenal Heights neighborhood, and crime actually decreased afterwards. Surprising? There was actually a large study in Baltimore that showed that urban trees can indeed help reduce crime! We can make an important difference in making Indianapolis a safer, greener, happier city.
If you would like to be part of our efforts to plant more trees and improve the quality of life in every corner of Indianapolis, now is your chance! We have a matching grant from a generous donor who has pledged to match every dollar we raise between now and the end of the year 1:1. So your contribution of $75 will help us plant a tree worth $150! Think of how great your friends and family will feel if you purchase a tree for them for the holidays. That’s the holiday spirit we all can enjoy together. Please visit BeautifulNeedsYou.org
Jeremy’s Neighborhood Recommendations
WHAT TO EAT
Chicken Gino-vese at Napoli Villa!
WHAT TO DO
Take a stroll through the Bennedict Inn GreenSpace. The Sisters there are constantly monitoring what wildlife is present and there are some wonderful, reflective art pieces!