Indianapolis’s Far Eastside neighborhood is a working-class community ten miles from downtown, located outside the city’s interstate beltway. Once an outer ring suburb, it’s has transformed over the last few decades into an urban community—diverse, largely residential, but with an industrial sector concentrated in its southern portion and a proud cohort of local businesses. As it has urbanized, however, poverty and related problems have increased. The poverty rate is almost 30 percent, twice Indianapolis metropolitan area’s average of 14.4 percent, the high school graduation rate is around 73 percent, lagging the city’s average by 17 points, and the unemployment rate stands at 16 percent, more than 8 points higher than Indianapolis’s average.
A strong group of civic leaders, community organizations and philanthropic interests are now aligned towards improving quality of life in this community and momentum is building toward change. Key to the partnership with the City of Indianapolis are players such as the Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF), the Community Alliance of the Far Eastside (CAFE), Glick Philanthropies, and the Finish Line Foundation. All of these stakeholders are investing time, talent and resources to the Far Eastside community and advancing place-based strategies for neighborhood revitalization.
Several key sites have recently seen significant change, which has increased the opportunity for active community planning that will guide the growth and vitality of this community transformation and accelerated the need for redevelopment coordination. The former Indianapolis public school, John Marshall High School, will be closing its doors as a public school this summer creating a unique opportunity for reuse; new leadership at CAFE, a key anchor institution in the neighborhood has highlighted the need for quality of life planning and community engagement; and a significant transit-oriented redevelopment is underway at the intersection of 42nd and Post, where two vacant residential buildings are in legal proceedings aimed toward their demolishment.
These three major developments represent a vision of transformational change that fits in with the community’s vibrant and diverse character and opens the possibility for comprehensive community-based redevelopment that improves the quality of life, reduces crime, increases opportunity and makes the Far Eastside a community of prosperity for all.
To support this work, the city will partner with FUSE Corps to host an executive-level fellow for one year who will work with community partners to spur action, guide progress, and create plans for ongoing engagement on all of these goals.
Project Summary & Potential Deliverables
The following provides a general overview of the proposed fellowship project. This project summary and the potential deliverables that follow will be collaboratively revisited by the host agency, the fellow, and FUSE staff during the first month of the project, after which a revised scope of work will be developed and agreed upon by the fellow and the host agency.
Starting in September 2018, it is proposed the FUSE Fellow will coordinate with community partners to lay the groundwork for three major redevelopment efforts that will collectively enhance the quality of life in the community and build exciting momentum for further change. Repurposing public buildings for community use, pushing for transit-oriented redevelopment and crafting a vision for CAFÉ’s future redevelopment work are powerful ways of improving vitality in the neighborhood.
With the announcement of the closure of John Marshall High School this summer, community organizations are already looking ahead by organizing a redevelopment task force for the site. A complete redevelopment will likely take three to five years, but the community has identified as a major priority the need to engage and place some kind of community-based activity in the building immediately, so that it does not sit vacant. The FUSE Fellow will work at the start of the project to recruit alternative uses to the building such as a small school, a daycare, or a senior center. Ensuring the facility remains a vital part of the community fabric will ensure the space remains a positive contributor to the neighborhood as well as generate momentum for future redevelopment. The fellow will also serve as one of the City’s key contacts for the transit-oriented redevelopment on the Far Eastside. The city is investing in new bus rapid transit and the fellow will be instrumental in generating creative opportunities for transit-oriented development.
CAFE, a partner in the school redevelopment project, is also at an important moment of refocusing and refining its efforts in engaging with the community and accomplishing specific development goals. As such, the organization will be bringing on a new Director of Community Development to energize this agenda and anticipates this new hire will be able to collaborate with the FUSE Fellow to lay out a roadmap for the next several years of neighborhood progress in this action-oriented organization.
Specifically, the FUSE Fellow will execute the following deliverables during the yearlong project.
- Conduct Research and a Landscape Analysis: Research the practices of other cities similar to Indianapolis who have implemented effective strategies with similar goals. Coordinate with public-, private-, and social-sector stakeholders to understand scope and tradeoffs of various development options and to identify specific community needs that must be incorporated into each process.
- Engage stakeholders and catalyze buy-in – Meet with external stakeholders from civic, philanthropic, and business sectors, to discuss options, preferences, and gaps and prioritize opportunities. Pay particular attention to development opportunities that benefit community partners. Effectively incorporate internal and external stakeholders in supporting the development of a quality of life strategy for the neighborhood.
- Develop a Neighborhood Redevelopment Strategy: Drive the redevelopment of strategic sites in the Far Eastside. Work with community partners to identify priorities for school reuse, transit- oriented development and community redevelopment plans across the neighborhood. Support the development and institutionalization of structures and processes that reinforce and help sustain the collaboration between city departments and community partners.
- Oversee Real Estate Management: Serve as a point person for the management of properties the City is moving to obtain site control in order to make way for transit-oriented redevelopment. Manage any other aspects of the project that can be accomplished in the requisite timeframe, including potentially transit-oriented redevelopment planning and implementation.
- Develop Metrics for Success: Collaborate with interested parties to reach consensus on metrics for success in progress on redevelopment efforts. Engage community stakeholders in the redevelopment plans and ensure the outcome is informed by the needs of current residents and business owners.
- Jeff Bennett, Deputy Mayor of Community Development, Indianapolis Mayor’s Office
- Diane Schussel, Community Investment Officer, Central Indiana Community Foundation
- Michael Howe, Chief Executive Officer, Community Alliance of the Far Eastside
- Ryan Brady, Philanthropic Advisor, Glick Philanthropies, and Director of Stewardship, Central Indiana Community Foundation
- Marty Posch, President, Finish Line Foundation
- At least 15 years of professional experience in real estate project management, particularly with a strong background in property acquisition, reuse, land use law or community development.
- Superior critical thinking and analytical skills.
- Ability to synthesize complex information into clear and concise recommendations.
- Ability to relate to a wide variety of diverse audiences with strong emotional intelligence and empathy.
- Excellent stakeholder engagement skills and the ability to use facilitative leadership techniques to coordinate stakeholder activities.
- Self-motivated, goal-oriented, entrepreneurial leader who can also be an independent worker.
- Persistent in obtaining information and creatively resourceful in identifying solutions to complex problems.
- Ability to create direction and movement within potentially ambiguous environments.
- Exceptional written and verbal communication skills with an ease in public presentations.
- Understands the need for solutions to support all people in a community regardless of race, religion, gender, immigration status, or ethnicity.
Click the link below to upload a resume and complete the online application questions in lieu of a cover letter. The application process will allow you to indicate interest in more than one fellowship opportunity. You only need to submit one application. Interested candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible, as selections will be made on a rolling basis and specific opportunities may close quickly.
A FUSE Fellowship is a 12-month engagement requiring fellows be primarily committed to their partnership with the government agency throughout the year to ensure the success of their project. Fellows are retained as independent contractors of FUSE Corps and are paid an annual stipend of $90,000 through monthly installments. This commitment begins on September 24, 2018 and ends September 20th, 2019.
The FUSE Fellowship is an equal opportunity program with a core value of incorporating diverse perspectives. We strongly encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply.