Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v16n03)
BRVA Executive Director - Colleen Fanning - by Mario Morone
posted: Feb. 01, 2019
Colleen Fanning became Broad Ripple Village Association Executive Director in April of last year. She recently reflected on her first nine months and her outlook on Broad Ripple's future. (The BRVA office is located at 818 Broad Ripple Avenue.)
"I've been the Indianapolis Marion County City-County Councilor since January 1, 2016 and have worked closely with the BRVA. I am 15 year resident of Broad Ripple. I lived in the north part of the village by the Monon Trial for about six years. I got married and moved to the village core, so I've seen lots of different sides of the neighborhood. I've had a small business (Gray Market Wine) for six years. It was my full-time job when I ran for City-County Council in 2015. Running that business full-time was not conducive with being the best public servant I could be. When the opportunity arose for me to join BRVA, it seemed like I fit with the direction the board was going. It was synergistic and serendipitous, and it's been wonderful. I get to spend to full-time hours in Broad Ripple as Broad Ripple goes through its next evolution, which is really very exciting. I get to spend my part-time hours on the rest of my district. I feel really fortunate that it's worked out this way. During this part of my life, public service is my focus," she explained.
Describing the area to first time visitors, Ms. Fanning said, "Broad Ripple is Indianapolis' original cultural district. We have a really rich history that dates back to the 1800s. It's been a vibrant, cultural community that has gone through many different phases. There's more to it than nightlife, and we're poised to grow in a really healthy direction. We're really one of the area's only self-contained villages with dry cleaners, banks, groceries, a post office and medical services. It's a truly village experience. You can get to everything walking or biking. There's a nice mosaic of cultural opportunity appropriate for the whole family. We're connected to Broad Ripple Park and the Towpath. We're the only community connected to the Canal and White River. We've working on activating the white river. There are terrific opportunities for us to take advantage of those assets. Broad Ripple is the most recognized Neighborhood in the state of Indiana. It has a reputation for being artistic, vibrant AND Cultural. WE ARE going into the future with an eye toward being family friendly, diverse and cultural in our offerings."
Reflecting on her accomplishments in 2018 with BRVA, she mentioned, "I would say thus far, we have really being been updating the systems and processes of the organization. We've been modernizing the way we do things, like our customer relations management, accounting processes and economizing our monthly office overhead. We have been focusing on working smarter and not getting bogged down with duties that take away from executing our mission. Our mission is to advance and engage the community by keeping Broad Ripple safe, clean, healthy, vibrant and welcoming for people who live, work and visit here. This organization is focused on doing things that need to be done that people don't necessarily know get done. Recently we had some armed robberies. We were the first phone call from the IMPD North District Commander. We immediately met with the police and business owners involved, encouraged cooperation, and made sure the news media was helpful. The suspect was apprehended within two weeks and we are proud of that. We focus on things like public safety, vagrancy and litter. We mow the medians, public spaces and bring in tens of thousands of visitors through promotion and events - like the Home Tour, Duck Race and Carnival. We promote the village outwardly and take care of the village behind the scenes. This year has been about understanding where we are and where we need to go. It's been about realizing efficiencies, fixing processes and doing the unsexy stuff that our members won't immediately notice. 2019 is about engaging our members and telling our story. It's a two-fold goal, helping the rest of the city and region understand Broad Ripple now and the Broad Ripple of the future. 2019 is the year I'm so excited about. Our members will see some of the changes soon and in a positive way."
Ms. Fanning listed some long-term objectives. "Enforcing the envision Broad Ripple plan is one of our biggest objectives. It may be time to revisit and modify that plan, but it serves as a great guide for a strong community. The goal is to increase the quality of life in the village."
"I would say one of our long term goals is to do a better job on engaging our members and the community at large as we have a big need for volunteers for events that the community enjoys. I encourage everybody who loves Broad Ripple to reach out to us on our website at broadrippleindy.org. You can fill out a contact form at: (https://bit.ly/2Rqifxs), attend our spring and fall meetings, volunteer and get more active. We not a tax-funded group, but a non-profit organization made up of dozens of businesses and residents that want to see the community succeed. We want everyone's input and want everybody to succeed. We are not exclusive by any means," Ms. Fanning noted.
She mentioned various ways citizens can stay connected with the BRVA. "They can reach out e-mail information at firstname.lastname@example.org and on the website to subscribe to our newsletter. We are on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and have a blog at: (broadrippleindy.org/blognews). We have board meetings that are open to the public. We have two big public meetings. There are myriad ways to get involved in our community as a volunteer and lend time and talent and give us your input," she emphasized.
With her background as City-County councilor, small business owner and BRVA Executive Director, Colleen Fanning is helping make Broad Ripple a better place to visit and live.
image courtesy of BRVA