Annual Meeting 2023
Highlights from the Millersville at Fall Creek Valley (MFCV) community meeting on March 15, 2023
Focusing on a Safer, More Connected, Cleaner Community
Are you listed here?
These are the people and groups that are making your neighborhood more valuable and your community a nicer place to live.
Huge and heartfelt thanks to our amazing, generous supporters, without whom literally nothing this organization has accomplished would have been possible.
Please check out who’s listed at: Millersville’s Supporters – 2022-2023 donors and volunteers – and thank them for stepping up and pitching in.
Even better, join them – and you’ll be listed, too!
Missing link: Proposed path from 56th to I-465
Presenter: Sallie Rowland, MFCV Planning Chair
We need to help to make this happen: The final phase of a safe-path project, connecting walkers and bikers to the Fall Creek Trail and Millersville Village, was set aside. So, our 56th-Street connector is incomplete. The plans sit on a shelf, unfunded.
Since most in attendance have lived in the Millersville neighborhood for less than 10 years, I started with a little history lesson.
The Millersville at Fall Creek Valley (M@FCV) organization was established in 2009 to address the commercial district that had failed: empty buildings, overgrown weeds, parked semis.
Previously, the area had been a destination for shopping, being led by O’Malia’s Grocery, a fish market and Welliver’s Restaurant. People drove to the center from all over Indy. With the demise of O’Malia’s, others followed suit.
We needed a plan as to what we wanted to do in the area. That official document (the Millersville Village and Corridor Plan) was realized in 2012, after two years of planning. In order for the surrounding neighborhoods to support the commercial center it needed to be better connected. There were no sidewalks or bike paths. In order to get there or get to the Fall Creek Trail, it was necessary to drive.
So, connectivity became of huge importance for safety and conveyance.
In 2013, a path was planned by the Indianapolis Department of Public Works (DPW) to go along the south side of 56th Street from Emerson Way to the apartment complexes at I-465. We succeeded in getting a sidewalk from Emerson Way, over the Fall Creek bridge, to the entrance of Cathedral High School, with a loop pathway from 56th Street south along Fall Creek Parkway to the Fall Creek Trail. Now, we want support to complete the balance of the path, from Cathedral to I-465.
Photographic illustrations were shown as to the route of the path.
Too many accidents: We need better connectivity and safer streets.
Presenter: Connie Szabo Schmucker, Advocacy Director, Bicycle Garage Indy / BGI Fitness
Information and advice for Millersville, pursuing the 56th Street-to-I465 path and other connectivity and street safety projects:
Advocacy 101: Praise loudly, criticize softly (although criticizing loudly is sometimes required).
- Praise: Handwritten thank you notes, emails, social media posts, etc.) / Criticize: In-person meetings, phone calls, emails
- Get to know your elected officials, media, and agency staff related to your concerns.
- Voice your concerns, educate them on issues, provide potential solutions/resources.
- Encourage elected officials, media, and agency staff to go on a bike ride or a walk in the area(s) of concern.
- Use opportunities like neighborhood meetings to connect with folks.
Things everyone should be able to agree on:
- You shouldn’t have to get into a car to go for a walk or a bike ride and you should be able to do so safely.
- You don’t build a bridge based on the number of people swimming across the river.
- Induced demand works two ways; build it and they will come.
Design determines behavior:
- Build for speed/cars, you get speed/cars.
- Build for people, you get people.
- If there aren’t people walking or bicycling, infrastructure is the most likely barrier. People walk/bike where they feel safe to do so.
The Fall Creek Trail is a wonderful resource, but it is not accessible for many who live very close by. Barriers: the creek, busy roads, the interstate, and lack of bicycle/pedestrian connectivity.
56th Street connects neighborhoods, trails, schools, and businesses.
A portion of 56th Street (Arlington to US 36) is part of the Indy Metropolitan Planning Organization (IMPO) High Injury Network (HIN) in the Safe Streets for All (SS4A) Action Plan.
The deadline for project applications for inclusion of the 56th Street path into the SS4A Action Plan project list (to be eligible for federal SS4A funding) is 3/31/23. Indianapolis would need to apply. See * below for details.
IndyMPO Active Transportation Plan – Safety and equity will be major components. April 2023 – Stakeholder and focus group meetings.
Vision Zero / Road to Zero Academy – Zero fatalities IS possible. Hoboken, NJ: Zero fatalities for five years in downtown area; Madison, WI, lowered fatalities two years into enacting a Vision Zero plan; Cincinnati, OH, pedestrian crashes are lower, with a five-person team to address infrastructure at intersections after they occur.
Federal funding available – more than ever before; safety and equity are high priorities in federal funding. There are new and enhanced programs with more robust funding at the federal level. Highly competitive, but if you don’t apply, you’re leaving potential funds on the table.
We know where the problems are, we know the solutions, we need attention and resources to address them.
There are two shootings a day in Indianapolis. Tragic and horrific. And attention and resources are being spent to address this. But, in 2021, there were 7.5 serious injury /fatal crashes per day. 1.8 involved a pedestrian/bicycle serious injury per day. There is little attention or resources to address this issue that impacts far more people.
25 percent of Indianapolis residents don’t have a car. Without transportation options beyond car ownership, the city isn’t serving the needs of everyone.
* Project applications for inclusion in the IMPO’s Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) Safety Action Plan are now open for IMPO members. Projects must prove that they, at a minimum, improve safety in their communities to be listed in this plan and eligible to apply for Implementation Grants in the USDOT’s SS4A Discretionary Grant Opportunity. This application will close Friday, March 31st, at 4 p.m.; however, the project application process will reopen annually to provide our LPAs the opportunity to submit new projects over the course of this five-year program. This process comes as part of the updates to the existing Safety Action Plan. Indy MPO staff contact: Andrea Miller, Long-Range Planning / Senior Planner / 317-327-5135 / [email protected]
Drag racing and more on Millersville streets: How to get police help
Presenter: Sgt. Tamar Harper, IMPD East District community resource supervisor
We are seeing increasingly unsafe streets right here in Millersville. We all need to do our part to report dangerous activity and help protect our community.
Part of Millersville is now served by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s East District.
The police share our concerns about the alarming trend of illegal and dangerous street racing, including drag racing on 56th Street, along with other illegal, hazardous driving in Millersville. Due to the added dangers of high-speed chases putting others at risk, officers cannot pursue perpetrators who race away from the police. But we should always report illegal activity to request police response and presence.
In addition, contact Tamar directly about recurring activity or locations that need special focus.
Note: These key contacts are also on the Millersville website under Millersville Community / Resources. Bookmark that page for future quick-reference.
Infrastructure and safety: Fighting for funding
Presenter: Fady Qaddoura, Indiana State Senator, District 30
There is encouraging news about getting funding we need in the city of Indianapolis for infrastructure projects (safer streets, sidewalks, and trails for pedestrians and cyclists).
1) A funding formula fixed. During Fady’s time as the Controller of the City of Indianapolis and Marion County, he worked to find the error in the funding formula for infrastructure that cost the city millions of dollars and that the Indiana legislature overlooked. This error has been corrected and Indy will begin receiving the correct allotment from the state.
2) Proposed: More support through new state legislation. In the state Senate now, Fady is working on four proposed bills of special interest. Recognizing that the state can do more, these are designed to help make sure our infrastructure needs are met:
SB200: Local Street Safety Matching Grant Program – Establishes the local street safety matching grant program and fund administered by the Indiana department of health to provide municipalities with matching grants to expand or improve pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure.
SB203: Local infrastructure funding – Amends the percentage split between the state highway fund and local road and street account to 60%/40%. Amends the allocation percentage for the motor vehicle highway account. Amends the grant amount determination and the maximum amount for grants made from the local road and bridge matching grant fund. Requires the Indiana department of transportation to approve certain eligible projects for a grant from the local road and bridge matching grant fund. Appropriates $300,000,000 from the state general fund or money received by the state from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, or a combination of both, to the local road and bridge matching grant fund for each state fiscal year of the budget biennium. Changes the allocation determination for distributions from the local road and street account.
SB205: Task force for the reduction of violent crime – Establishes the task force for the reduction of violent crime. Requires the task force to study potential statutory changes to reduce violent crime and submit a report for distribution to the general assembly.
SB283: Marion County road funding – Provides that, for purposes of determining the right of the consolidated city of Indianapolis to receive a distribution of money from the motor vehicle highway account based on population, the population of all the territory of the consolidated city is considered its population.
Good news: Cathedral High School commitment
Presenter: Rolly Landeros, Cathedral Hight School Chief Information Officer
After considering relocation in recent years, the Cathedral High School has decided they’re in Millersville to stay and are investing in our community.
Cathedral High School has been a vibrant presence in Millersville since 1976 and a supportive neighbor and project partner.
They have several significant planned improvements to their campus, off 56th Street near Fall Creek Parkway.
Cathedral is also asking for a traffic study to find the best solution to alleviate the traffic problems caused by arrival and dismissal of students.
Millersville connectivity projects are supported; more students would walk to school if it were safe.
Contact: Rolly Landeros, 317-542-1481
Many thanks to Rolly and Cathedral High School for donating meeting space and set-up support for our Annual Meeting!
Business is looking up (and burgers are sizzling)
Presenter: Tom Eggers, MFCV Village Business Initiative Leader
Our Millersville Village is vibrant. Most commercial spaces are filled, but two office buildings with new owners have upgraded spaces available. And we have a number of other new notable businesses, including a new restaurant!
When touring the Village and looking at street-level storefronts, one will see that almost all of them have active businesses. In addition, what is not so visible is what’s happening inside the active office buildings. In those, virtually all the available spaces are filled with tenants. What a contrast to the picture Sallie painted of the failed commercial district a dozen years ago.
Further, the Village is seen as a place to invest with new businesses.
Take the case of the two office buildings that have been vacant for several years. One was built as a bank building on the west side of Emerson with drive-through windows. The new owner, Matt Voynovich, has refurbished the building inside and improved the landscaping. New tenants are coming in. The other building used to house Welliver’s Restaurant. Val Simianu has redesigned and upgraded the inside and already has new tenants in residence.
We are also very pleased to have a new restaurant—The Burger Joint. Jose Mones has completely remodeled the space, added furnishings and created a pleasant ambiance. His menu is varied and service is very good.
See: Millersville Village Businesses for a full, at-a-glance list; a more detailed business directory; and a leasable-business-space directory.
Learn more about our Village Business Initiative.
Beautiful successes: New creek overlook and more
Presenter: Matt Benson, MFCV Beautification Initiative Leader
Your seat is waiting at our new Fall Creek Overlook. Come take in the view at the best place on the creek to enjoy the incredible beauty of Fall Creek Valley. And while you’re there, take a walk along the trail to see the Millersville sculpture garden and the area at Emerson Way that we’re beautifying in 2023.
2022 was a big year for beautification projects in Millersville. We completed two major new projects while, at the same time, completing monthly trash cleanups and weekly garden maintenance at the Gateway Gardens (medians), Preserve sculpture garden, and Fall Ceek Overlook wildflower garden.
The Millersville Fall Creek Overlook was finished in spring of 2022. It is an open, grass-covered area, about 70 feet wide, with wildflower gardens on each side, overlooking Fall Creek. The Overlook is located along the Fall Creek Trail behind our Walmart Neighborhood Market. There are three large stone benches where visitors can sit and enjoy the creek, the wildflowers and nature.
Many thanks to Board Member Sallie Rowland and Reconnecting to Our Waterways (ROW) /Herbert Simon Family Foundation for funding the creation of the Overlook; Indy Land Stewardship for supporting the project; and Millersville and Indiana Wildlife Federation volunteers for funding, creating and maintaining the wildflower gardens.
The other major project involved removing invasive porcelain berry vine and bush honeysuckle from about 150 feet along Fall Creek between the trail and the creek. We had about 25 volunteers come out and the results were fantastic! During a subsequent volunteer work day, five volunteers cleared remaining debris and leaves on the site, then planted grass and wildflower seed, and covered it all with straw. Many thanks to Millersville volunteers; Marion County Soil and Water Conservation District Director John Hazlett; State of Indiana Cooperative Invasives Management; and Indy Land Stewardship.
2023 will be another big year for Millersville Beautification. Thanks to an $8,500 grant from the Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center, we will be revitalizing our gardens on the medians, at the sculpture plaza, and at the creek overlook. And we’ll be clearing invasives from both sides of the Emerson Way bridge in the Fall Creek Greenway, then planting grass to beautify and stabilize the slopes and prevent invasive regrowth.
See the slideshow – A picture is worth a thousand words!
Handout: Litter and Beautification – How to get involved + Activities recap with thanks to special supporters
Quick hits help keep ugly litter under control
Presenter: Phyllis Starks, MFCV Quick-Hitter Litter Cleanups Leader
Ugh, the trash never stops. But neither do we, right? Since fighting litter in Millersville will be a never-ending job, we attack it in regular, short bursts and have fun doing it. (Please help!)
The Quick Hitters are a group of volunteers that help beautify the neighborhood by picking up litter. We gather once a month to go out into the areas that have been identified as having the most trash and clean them up. We have noticed over time that the neighborhood looks better as we do this work consistently.
If you are interested in volunteering, even for just a few months a year, we can place your name on our list and notify you when it is time for a pickup. On the months that you want to volunteer, you will meet us at Starbucks at 10:30 a.m. (9:30 a.m. in the summer), get a list of where the trash is, and go out and pick for half an hour. It’s nice when you can work for just a short period of time and really see the results of your work!
Get your name on our list or learn more now about our popular Quick-Hitter Litter Cleanups.
Contact: Phyllis Starks, at [email protected]
Are you giving back? We need more helping hands.
We are ALL volunteers – each of us just doing our part to help keep this place something we’re proud of. Be a volunteer!
Please raise your hand and come have some fun doing good things for your community!
Stay informed and learn more: We make it easy.
Make sure you’re signed up to stay connected with Millersville news. And put our website on your reading list to learn more about your community. It’s your home or where you work or play, and it’s an amazing place!
Stay in the loop on Millersville news.
- Subscribe to our periodic e-newsletters and e-mail special notices, and…
- Follow us on social media @millersvillefcv – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Enable notifications so you don’t miss timely, quick bits of news and information.
Explore our website.
Take a quick look at what you can find there. You’ll enjoy learning more about our award-winning, all-volunteer community support organization and the Millersville community itself.
Amy Hammes – e-news and social media – [email protected]
Mollie Benson – website – [email protected]
Thanks for Joining Us
Thanks to all who came to the meeting, especially our presenters and these additional Millersville-area representatives, advocates, partners and special guests:
- Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center Executive Director Anne-Marie Taylor
- Marion County Soil & Water Conservation District Executive Director John Hazlett
- City of Indianapolis Deputy Mayor of Neighborhood Engagement Judith Thomas
- City/County Councillors Dan Boots, Dist.3; and Ethan Evans, Dist.4
- IMPD-East District Crime Watch Specialist and Lawrence Twp. Trustee Steve Talley
- Mayor’s Neighborhood Advocate Carrington Sanders, Dist.7
- State Senator Jean Breaux, D-34