In December of 2006, BRAG was selected as a GINI (Great Indy Neighborhoods Initiative) grant recipient making any technical assistance available for three years to identify and implement quality of life enhancements. In 2007, a Community Coordinator was hired to manage a series of community wide visioning meetings, surveys, focus groups, and one-on-one interviews with residents, area business owners, and other community stake holders. In 2008, a Quality of Life Plan was published that outline the priorities that emerged from the year long process. In 2009 working groups were formed to implement the goals and strategies detailed in the Quality of Life Plan. From those priorities and input from the working groups, the BRAG Board of Directors established the initiatives that guide the organization to this day.
BRAG Business Roundtable-Coming in 2018 and sponsored by Community Health Network
Binford Redevelopment and Growth, Inc. formed because of the decline of commercial/retail areas along Binford Boulevard. The BRAG area has demographics that are attractive to many developers and businesses, and BRAG has a reputation for working with developers to attract businesses that are beneficial to both entities. As a result of BRAG’s efforts, old structures have come down, modern structures were built, and new businesses moved in. More than 50 new businesses have come to the area since 2007, creating over 800 new jobs.
As the number of businesses grew and as the area developed a distinct identity, BRAG Business Roundtable (formerly the BRAG Business Alliance) was formed to offer support to BRAG area businesses. Area businesses and residents consistently asked for a directory of area business and services to use to help them find goods and services in the immediate area. The first BRAG Business Alliance Directory was published in 2013 with underwriting assistance from Community Health Network. The new BRAG App was launched in the summer of 2018 to keep businesses and residents connected.
CRIME WATCH AND PREVENTION
In 2006 BRAG established a Residential Crime Watch Network that now includes 43 neighborhoods. The Crime Watch Network is a proactive program that helps educate and bring awareness to the BRAG community by reporting criminal activity and sharing information with area residents and businesses. Through email communication it is possible to put all of the surrounding neighborhoods on high alert when a criminal incident or suspicious activity occurs in any neighborhood or business area. These reports are received by approximately 8000 area residents and businesses. The network has a close working relationship with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the Marion County Prosecutors’ Office. Through BRAG efforts, a Police Satellite Office opened in 2009 at 5699 E. 71st Street. The station has since moved to the Castleton United Methodist Church at 71st and Shadeland. This increases law enforcement presence in the area and provides a service to the officers. The BRAG Crime Watch Network was awarded Crime Fighter of the Year Award in 2011 by the Marion County Prosecutors Office.
TRAILS & CONNECTIVITY
Much of the BRAG area was built at a time when neighborhoods were designed around the automobile. Sidewalks and bike trails are virtually nonexistent in neighborhoods and major thoroughfares. The Accessibility Committee was formed to address the lack of trails and sidewalks. The objective of the committee is to build sidewalks and multi-use trails throughout the BRAG community, connecting neighborhoods both east and West of Binford Boulevard, and to provide safe crossings at all major intersections. The pathways identified in the initiative plans are included in the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization Regional Pedestrian Plan. Because of committee efforts to raise the funds for an engineering study on 71st Street, the Indianapolis Department of Public Works (DPW) applied for and received $1.2 million in federal funding to construct the multi-use path along 71st street from Binford Boulevard to Hague Road. The BRAG board supports a Complete Streets policy for Indianapolis and has passed a resolution in support of increased funding for improved mass transit solutions for the city.
PARKS & GREENSPACE
BRAG’s beautification efforts began with a project to plant trees and shrubs on Binford Boulevard In 2005. The newly formed board wanted to find a project that would make a statement to area businesses, residents and the city that the organization was serious about improving the BRAG area. Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc. heard about the start- up organization and approached BRAG to consider hosting a beautification day. With KIB’s help and landscape plans developed by David Gorden from Mark Holeman, Inc., over 800 people came out on a beautiful day in October 2005 to plant over 200 trees and thousands of shrubs, perennials and daffodil bulbs. BRAG is responsible for the maintenance of the planting beds and trees. A dedicated group of volunteers keep the trees alive through committed watering and attention. Twice a year, BRAG holds a ‘Beautification Day” to add new plants, mulch, work on special projects, pull weeds and pick up trash. Many of the planting beds and grassy areas all along Binford have been adopted by area businesses and service organizations. Skiles Test Nature Park is the only park in the BRAG area. In 2009, the entrance to the park received a new look when 2,000 native flowers and shrubs were planted around the parking and trail area on Fall Creek Rd. The park is connected to the Indy Parks Greenways Biking and Hiking Trail.
TRASH & LITTER
Littering is not unique to the BRAG area. If you drive through any part of the city, you will see garbage lining the roads and sidewalks. However, the BRAG area takes pride in its appearance and refuses to let illegal dumping and littering deter from the beauty that lies within this neighborhood. With the help of volunteers, BRAG has semi-annual clean up days. Along with KIB, BRAG orchestrates volunteers and provides them with trash bags and maps of areas that are in desperate need of repair. While this provides a short term solution to a major problem, it is not sustainable.
Suburban neighborhoods thrive with strong public schools and a variety of private schools. BRAG residents make a deliberate choice to live in the area so that their children may attend one of the outstanding public or private schools. The BRAG boundaries include portions of both Washington Township and Lawrence Township. Both townships offer award-winning schools built on a foundation of outstanding educators, administrators, school board members and a supportive community. Also in the BRAG area are a number of private parochial and private non-denominational nursery, elementary and high schools.
Schools in the BRAG area
|Lawrence Township Schools
• Lawrence North High School
• McKenzie Career Center
• Skiles Test Elementary
• Crestview Elementary
Washington Township Schools
• Allisonville Elementary School
• Eastwood Middle School
• Heritage Christian
• St. Matthews School
· Cross and Crown Peter Panda Preschool
· CUMNS Kids
· Allisonville Christian Church Weekday Program
· Epworth Weekday Children’s Ministries
The BRAG Board believes that in addition to everything else that we value as being important initiatives for area residents and businesses, at the end of the day, people want to know their neighbors. They want to know who the owner of a business is and what school his/her children attend. They want to go grocery shopping and recognize people. They want to participate in events that allow them to meet others in the community – and only through this, will our community become stronger. To that affect, the Binford Farmer’s Market has served as a community gathering place since it began in 2007.