March 8th, 2016

At Home in Bates-Hendricks:  From Country to City Living

by Amy Sheldrake Eddy


“There’s a lot of revitalization going on that you don’t see when you first drive down the street.”

This statement perfectly describes the Bates-Hendricks neighborhood on the near south side of Indianapolis, sandwiched between Fountain Square (to the east), the Lilly corporate campus (to the north), and Garfield Park (to the south).  New neighbors Jason and Haley Ney have discovered, since arriving in Indy last summer, that there’s more than meets the eye in the historic up-and-coming neighborhood of Bates-Hendricks.

Haley and Jason both grew up in small-town Indiana, near Kokomo.  Jason’s parents lived in (and gradually remodeled) an old farmhouse in the countryside, and Haley’s family lived on a large multi-acre property with horses for most of her childhood.  They met during their college years, lived and worked in Lafayette for a while after graduating from Purdue, and then moved to Indianapolis in the summer of 2015 with their baby girl.  Jason and Haley both work at St. Francis Hospital and at first rented an apartment nearby, on the south side of Indianapolis.  They didn’t waste any time beginning the search for their dream house.   They had a list of specific things they were looking for; they needed more space, proximity to their jobs, and a house with character (but not a fixer-upper, because they didn’t have the extra time or expertise to deal with major updates).  And, surprisingly, they knew they didn’t want a house with a huge yard, because of their experience growing up in the country:  having more land means more work and time are required to take care of it.  Houses in Southport, Greenwood, and Fountain Square were all on their list to visit.


Photo credit: Haley Ney

Ultimately, having a good friend who already lived in Bates-Hendricks turned out to be the key to finding the perfect home.  Haley’s friend Sara knew that Jason and Haley were looking for a home, and that her neighbors had remodeled their house and were putting it on the market, so she urged the Neys to come look at the newly-rehabbed house next door.  It was love at first sight when they crossed the threshold of their 1910 Craftsman bungalow and saw the beautiful dark wood floors and spacious, open-concept rooms.  The reality of rehabbed older houses, Haley said, is that the quality of the work varies widely; what realtors describe as ‘remodeled’ in a listing looks very different in different places.  The owners of this particular house had done an excellent job and used high-quality materials for the remodel.  “What I love about this house is that it has character, even though it feels kind of new,” said Haley.


Photo credit: Haley Ney

When I asked them about how urban neighborhood safety compared to living in the country, they said that living here, you definitely need to keep cars locked when they’re parked on the street.  Having a fenced-in backyard is also a big plus.  But really, Jason commented, “crime and safety is no different here than in the suburbs.”