Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v04n07)
BRVA March meeting draws over 60 residents
posted: Apr. 06, 2007
Almost 60 people attended at the March 2007 public meeting of the Broad Ripple Village Association (BRVA), which was held at the Indianapolis Art Center (IAC). BRVA president Ellen Morley Matthews called the meeting to order a little past 7 P.M. and welcomed everyone. Ellen introduced Indy Greenways manager Karina Straub.
Karina mentioned several Greenways projects in the Broad Ripple area, including the canoe launch on the grounds of the Indianapolis Art Center (IAC). The IAC is currently renovating the launch, but the project was delayed due to a request from the Indianapolis Fire Department to make the launch suitable for emergency vehicles. Another project Karina mentioned was the building of the levee on the banks of the White River. "We are working very closely with the Department of Public Works (DPW) and the Army Corps of Engineers to let people know when we will have trail detours [as the levee construction crosses it]," explained Karina. "Some of you may have noticed that some of our bridges are being repainted. The bridges over the White River and Williams Creek will be done in the next two to three weeks. Hopefully by May 1st we will have the Kessler bridge repainted."
Karina introduced Indianapolis Metro Police Department (IMPD) North District Commander Major John Conley and Indianapolis Park Rangers administrator Major John Mattingly to discuss crime in the area. "I want to share with you some of the things we're doing about the problem on the Monon that kind of snuck up on us the end of last Summer," said Major Mattingly. "One thing is, April 13th (2007) the Rangers will be more involved in special operations on the trail, with special teams that concentrate on the Monon - during the day and night." Major Mattingly explained that one thing that will increase on the trail is enforcement of the existing laws. The main effect of this will be the writing of tickets to persons using the trail after dusk. The trail is a linear city park and is subject to all the regular park rules, including the dawn to dusk hours. Most of the crime on the trail occurs after park hours. Since the crime can't happen if citizens aren't on the trail during those hours, the Rangers will ticket anyone on the trail from dusk to dawn. He explained that even people who live on the trail and might use it at night to walk their dogs will be given tickets. Once the active enforcement starts, there can be no preferential treatment - anyone found on the trail off-hours will be in violation of the law.
Major John Mattingly
Major John Conley discussed crime on the Monon: "I believe that perception is reality for people. If a person if afraid to go outside their house for fear of becoming a victim of crime, then crime is an issue - whether there is any crime committed or not."
IMPD Major John Conley continued the discussion of crime on the Monon. "I believe that perception is reality for people. If a person if afraid to go outside their house for fear of becoming a victim of crime, then crime is an issue - whether there is any crime committed or not. There were only six reported crimes on the Monon last year. But if you talk to people about the Monon, there seems to be a lot more. That's not to say there weren't crimes committed right off the Monon. Let me tell you - the Broad Ripple area and the Monon are safe. I would have my family walk on it. The crimes we see in Broad Ripple are crimes that are inherent to the area. Broad Ripple and its night spots are a very valuable asset to this city. People from all around Indianapolis want to know where Broad Ripple is. The first thing visitors ask me is 'Where is this Broad Ripple area?'." The Major explained that the night spots that are so popular create many of the offenses that fall into two categories - assaults where alcohol is involved or larceny from vehicles because of the parking issue in the area.
A question was raised about the possibility of a neighborhood hiring off-duty police to patrol an area. Major Conley answered that there is no fixed fee, but the hourly rate is somewhere around $20 to $30 per hour. The audience asked many other questions which I do not have the space to list in this article. The Major stated that if someone has a question for IMPD and is not getting a satisfactory answer, he can be contacted at 327-6100.
Karina returned to discuss the graffiti or 'tagging' that seems to be everywhere in the Village. She said that the DPW is inspecting for graffiti daily and removing it when possible. Karina introduced Kevin Sifferlen from the Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Services to discuss what the city is doing about graffiti. "We have never, as a city, coordinated the graffiti issue very well," stated Sifferlen. "I am trying to do that better. We don't have ordinances in place. We are working with the prosecutor's office to find out how to better prioritize the graffiti issues. We are researching other cities our size that do a really good job of cleaning up."
Kevin Sifferlen from the Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Services discussed what the city is doing about graffiti. "We have never, as a city, coordinated the graffiti issue very well. I am trying to do that better."
Next on the agenda was announcements. Ellen said that the next Town Hall Meeting will be held on April 17th, in lieu of the regular BRVA public meeting. This meeting will be at Broad Ripple High School. The May 15th public meeting will also be held at BRHS due to the Broad Ripple Art Fair preparations that will be going on at the IAC. She also mentioned that the larger facility at the high school coincides with Mayor Peterson's scheduled appearance at a BRVA meeting.
Next, a representative from each of the BRVA committees gave a short report:
- Beautification - Rich Bees - The next Broad Ripple Clean-Up day is Saturday, April 7, 2007, from 8 A.M. to noon. Volunteers should meet at the old firehouse. Also, a local paint store has offered to sell paint at their cost to be used for painting over graffiti. See Rich Bees for details.
- Business Division - Linda Shikany - The BRMG is now a part of the BRVA. Meetings are now held on the second Thursday of each month from 8:30 to 9:30 A.M. at Kiln Creations. Details at www.broadripplemerchants.com. The group is looking for sponsors for meetings. A business person can bring the refreshments and then give a short talk on his or her business.
- Communication - Diane Seybert - The first two issues of the Village News & Views have appeared in the Broad Ripple Gazette (the third is on pages 14-15 of this issue). The advertising for those pages is filled for the next few issues.
- Cultural Tourism - Sharon Freeland - Indianapolis Downtown Inc. (IDI) and the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association (ICVA) is producing a TV commercial that will air in Cincinnati, Chicago, and St. Louis. The short length of the spot (ten seconds) allowed only one cultural district to be featured - Broad Ripple was chosen. Filming is scheduled for Thursday April 5th, 2007.
- Land Use and Development - Peter Dean - Three petitioners appeared at the February meeting (see Gazette issue V4 #5). The committee voted to support all three.
- Public Safety - Michael Seufert - Residents with a power pole on their property are encouraged to have a security light installed. IPL can add a light for $7 per month.
- Special Events - Diane Seybert - The Spring Gallery Tour will be May 11, 2007, from 5 to 9 P.M. at 19 shops throughout the Village. Free shuttle busses will be available.
Ellen then introduced a special agenda item - Cortellini giving his speech "Building a sense of Community". Readers will recognize Cortellini from his columns in the Gazette. Cortellini explained that his goal is to have Broad Ripple declared a Green Commmunity. His difficulty has not been with the Green part, which he said is the easy part, but with the community. He described Community as something that is bigger than ourselves - something that binds us to each other. Community is expressed through the participation of the citizens. To make things happen, citizens must get involved. "A lot of people don't get involved because they say things like 'I can't figure out what they are doing' or 'They're not doing what I want them to do' or 'I don't fit it'. That is not a good excuse. In our democratic process, if you don't like what is going on, dropping out is not going to do anything. What you need to do is get involved, demand a lectern, and get up and speak your piece."
Cortellini gave a speech on "Building a sense of community." He said: "It is my goal to have Broad Ripple declared a Green Commmunity."
Cortellini talked about change. It is in our best interests to try to understand how the changes will affect us. We have a better chance of doing that if we work together. We can guide the changes to make them more favorable to us and our community. "[We need to] develop a robust, consensus-based democracy for getting solutions that work, so we can build some measure of authority and begin to have some clout as to what gets done and what doesn't get done in the community. We don't have a vision that gives us direction to allow us to prevent that wrong thing from coming into Broad Ripple. I urge all of you to join and participate and for the BRVA to look at processes that can distill the will of the Broad Ripple citizens."
The next BRVA meeting will be Tuesday April 17th, 2007, at 7 P.M. at Broad Ripple High School.