My latest post is at Urban Indy. It features the minor controversy regarding a building going through the redevelopment process in one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods on the near south side. The building itself is architecturally unremarkable:
It’s been completely vacant for several years now. It’s not in terribly good shape, and the owner has had little luck finding a buyer who would renovate it. Chances are good that any renovation would cost more than the property is worth, especially since the surrounding Sacred Heart neighborhood is only in the earliest stages of revitalization.
But does that mean it should get demo’d to turn into a gas station? I’m less uncomfortable with the concept of a demolition than with the long-term future of the parcel. Every land speculator in urban areas sees dollar signs when a potential petroleum company comes knocking; even in the most economically distressed areas, they translate to big bucks. But this neighborhood already has four operating gas stations within a mile radius, with one more on the way, only two blocks south of this current site at Meridian and Morris streets. Shabby as this building might be, it is built right up to the corner and offers reasonably good, walkable urban form–certainly better than a gas station’s numerous curb cuts.
The surrounding community is trying to organize to appeal the Hearing Examiner’s ruling in favor of demolition, but the challenge lies in constructing a compelling enough argument, especially when the zoning at this parcel is a very unrestrictive C-4. This tired little blue-collar apartment building may not be a keeper in and of itself, but if offers the walkable urban design that Sacred Heart hopes to retain for itself–and to which a gas station is antithetical.
Feel free to read the full article; comments are always welcome.
5 thoughts on “Putting a gas tank in the heart of a neighborhood.”
Thank You!! I truly hope you “make it big” or fulfill whatever your dream may be. Thank You for attending our Old SouthSide / Babe Denny Neighborhood Association meeting this evening (2/13/13). This Area has exponential potential as you already pointed out. I also can’t believe the dedication and care you hold regarding your journalism. I hope you stick around!
Thanks for the comments, Tom. I hope you got a chance to read the full-length article on Urban Indy (http://www.urbanindy.com/2013/02/01/meridian-and-morris-the-heart-of-a-neighborhood-morphs-into-a-gas-tank/). I’ll try to stay up-to-date on this development as it progresses, even if I’m not in town, and if it gets more complicated, I might be able to include an update article.
Any idea when is the next neighborhood meeting for the Old SouthSide/Babe Denny group?
Good question. As you probably heard, the Metropolitan Development Council UNANIMOUSLY rejected the gas station proposal and favored with the remonstrators. They suspect the property owner’s team will come back in a few weeks with a new design.
I’m not sure yet when the next meeting is, but as soon as I find out, I’ll post an update as a response to this blog post.
The next meeting for the two neighborhoods is at 7pm on March 20, in the Sacred Heart Parish Hall at the intersection of Meridian and Morris.