Indianapolis, Indiana – The historical John Marshall Middle School on Indianapolis’ far east side has remained dormant for over five years. Similarly, certain sections of what was formerly Central State Hospital on the west side of the city have been repurposed. However, a nearby former garage complex for the Indiana Department of Transportation remains neglected and has degraded into an unsightly blemish, marred by overgrown vegetation.
The Metropolitan Development Commission has now opted to rejuvenate these dormant sites. The City of Indianapolis acquired the 40-acre John Marshall property from Indiana Public Schools at a cost of $725,000. It seeks collaboration with a not-for-profit, community-focused developer to refurbish the school, aiming to transform it into a communal resource for local entities.
Metro Development Director Rusty Carr commented on the potential of the facility: “A real opportunity hub, a community serving hub that’s supporting entrepreneurship, supporting food distribution, supporting health initiatives.” Carr also mused on the myriad possibilities the expansive parking area offers. Is that a housing development? Is that further commercial development? Is it parks and greenspace that makes sense given the size of the campus?”
IFF Indianapolis envisions this revamped space to encompass training and educational facilities. Additionally, it would house avenues for business development, support services, transitional housing, and neighborhood amenities such as a community garden, playground, and an auditorium.
Conversely, in the vicinity of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Gasoline Alley, there’s a road that boasts several motorsport outlets. Rod Reid, President and Executive Director of NXG Youth Motorsports, has plans for his program, which imparts automotive and life skills to youth aged 11-16.
“Our focus, first of all, is to make sure they learn how to learn and start to think,” Reid expressed. He emphasized the balance between imparting life skills and lessons directly linked to motorsports. Reid aims to conduct his sessions in the envisioned 25,000-square-foot site on Tibbs Avenue, which he believes could enhance the program’s current yearly intake of 250 children to potentially three times that number.
Reid elaborated on the importance of the program: “The automotive industry in Indianapolis is such a huge, multi-billion dollar industry, and most of our kids from black and brown communities, they don’t have the connection or exposure, so we give that to them.” Reid, also the owner of the Force Indy Racing Team, takes pride in the fact that several program alumni have secured jobs in the motorsport sector.
The entire vision for both sites requires further endorsement from the MDC, and extensive architectural and construction planning, which will involve a substantial financial outlay.