Serving as a bridge between downtown and the north side, this diverse neighborhood is undergoing transformative changes to Tarkington Park and its surrounding commercial spaces that will appeal to residents of varying income levels.
Spend any time near 38th and Illinois streets, the central node of this Great Places 2020 district, and you’ll hear stories of the old neighborhood. Together, neighbors banded to form a strong and tight-knit community, where children played with one another, music was played, school was attended and all congregated in unity at church. What is now called Maple Crossing is an area full of history, richness, culture and love. Maple Crossing sits at the cross points of four neighborhoods: Butler-Tarkington, Crown Hill, Meridian-Kessler and Mapleton-Fall Creek. Maple Crossing is the neighborhood in the middle of it all with mid-century modern style emerging from a midlife crisis, halfway between a conflicted past and an optimistic future.
Prior to the Great Places initiative, Maple Crossing was characterized by an increasing population, low median household incomes, and high vacancy rates. Maple Crossing is comprised of a majority-Black population, although the proportion of Black residents declined slightly between 2015 and 2018, from 62 to 60 percent. Meanwhile, the percentage of white and Latinx residents increased slightly over this time period (from 35 to 36 percent and from 2 to 3 percent, respectively).
As part of the city-wide Great Places initiative, Maple Crossing has completed a strategic planning process that identifies goals and strategies in four areas: Livability, Opportunity, Vitality and Education.
Encourage walking, bicycling, and transit use and discourage excessive motoring speeds
Turn Tarkington Park into a destination urban park and enhance the physical and natural environment
Improve health and safety
Increase local employment and provide direct access to other job centers
Develop a mixed-use commercial center around Tarkington Park
Create a place-based strategy for the retention and attraction of small businesses and larger enterprises
Reduce housing blight and abandonment
Improve existing owner-occupied and rental housing stock
Increase interest in new home ownership of all income levels
Create a large-scale, market building redevelopment initiative south of 38th Street
Transform IPS School 43 into a high quality neighborhood school for families within the Great Place
Increase the array and quality of early childhood resources and out-ofschool time programming for families with children in the Great Place
Increase educational support services through the Mid-North Promise Program
Develop targeted strategy for workforce development and entrepreneurship for adult residents within the Great Place
Fifty-eight strategies were identified to achieve the LOVE goals in Maple Crossing, and progress on these strategies was recorded by the neighborhood coordinator. After four years, 63 percent of the strategies to achieve LOVE goals in Maple Crossing were either recorded as completed or in progress, while 36% had either no action or had no information entered.
Health and/or recreational facilities improved: 10
Projects within 1 block of projected transit corridors: 13
Greenspace improvements: 25
Connectivity improvements: 155
Cultural/creative placemaking events: 16
People impacted by food initiatives: 13,015
Public safety and community partnerships: 9
Brownfields tested or remediated: 2
New jobs created: 64
Small businesses assisted: 51
Commercial square footage improved: 21,301
Housing units new or improved for rent: 0
Housing units new or improved for sale: 39
Educational programs and facilities assisted: 20
Center for Working Families (CWF) participants in
CWF participants increasing credit score: 70
CWF participants increasing net income: 28
CWF participants increasing net worth: 0
CWF participants obtaining job: 22
Maple Crossing is anchored by Tarkington Park, a public green space “acquired for the people” in
1945. The 10.5-acre park – bound by 39th, 40th, Illinois and Meridian Streets – has many amenities including a cafe, splash park, large children's play area, central plaza, and an improved streetscape.
A walk from 38th and Illinois to 40th will show you a barbershop, a dry-cleaning business now in its second generation, and the Melody Inn - playing live music and serving libations since 1935.
A full-service stoplight was installed at the corner of 40th and Meridian streets, allowing safer access to Tarkington Park.
The Concord Building is a 14,000-square foot historic site that has gone through many iterations. The building wants to do exactly what its name says to do: bring people together in agreement. The building houses Alkemy, a minority entrepreneurship hub that provides training, mentorship, technical assistance and financial resources.
The 13-mile Red Line, Indy’s
first “fixed guideway” transit in more than 60 years, stops in the heart of Maple Crossing. The walkable-built environment along the Red Line connects riders with residential, retail, and business environments.
The Martin Luther King Community Center provides affordable
outcome-based after-school programs for working families. In 2018, the Center added a Best Buy Teen Tech Center to help engage youth, teens, and young adults in life-changing experiences.
In response to the need for quality affordable housing, Midtown Indy partnered with a local developer to transform the vacant, 75,000 sq. ft. former United Way headquarters into Parkside at Tarkington, a mixed-use development with 60 units of affordable senior housing. Targeted completion date is 2021.
James Whitcomb Riley School #43 was selected to receive a learning garden to not only grow food, but to serve as a dynamic outdoor classroom, transforming the urban schoolyard into a vibrant gathering place.
The Martin Luther King Community Center provides affordable
Midtown Indy collaborated with the Harrison Center to highlight the area’s rich history through art including gallery displays, Hip Hoperetta musical history tours, building murals, and more.
Interested in getting involved in the efforts of this Great Place? Contact Tom Healy.