March 28th, 2014
Making the move to Mapleton Fall Creek
by Ryan Puckett
In 2005, I was living in Evanston, Ill., and somehow convinced my Long Island-raised wife to move to Indianapolis. We wanted to live near one of our families and since the cost of living was one of the reasons we were leaving Chicago, New York was not a real option. My side of the family still lived in Indianapolis.
Predictably, we moved to Broad Ripple and we loved it. Just about everything we wanted was within a short trip, even within walking distance: the dog park, restaurants, retail, a movie theatre, the summer farmers market, etc.
Eventually, we had a son and we continued to enjoy our little bungalow. We found a daycare/pre-school nearby and life was good. Then as he approached his fourth birthday, we started to think about school options and to add a new wrinkle to the mix, we found out we were having another baby (due this April). Our house was already feeling small, so it was time to move.
Now this is the part of the story where it’s got that sort of Choose Your Own Adventure flavor. Around this life stage is when many Indianapolis residents move outside of Marion County in search of a bigger, newer home, low crime and strong public schools. If you’re not familiar with that story and how that’s impacted our city, just watch the first few minutes of this (note the slide at the 7:09 mark).
Given my line of work, community involvement and passion for sustainability, moving further aware from the city’s core was not an option. Instead, we pursued moving further into the city.
We looked at homes in several of Indy’s core neighborhoods, but the one we were overlooking is the one where we finally landed in December: Mapleton Fall Creek.
Instead of newer, we went older too, moving from a home built in 1939 to one built in 1916. I feel perfectly safe walking around my neighborhood during the day and I’d take the same precautions at night as I did living in Broad Ripple.
Then there are the schools. That’s the questions we get from everybody, “What are you going to do about school?” As if there are no options.
When my wife and I ultimately picked which neighborhood to live in, we decided that Mapleton Fall Creek (MFC) would be the best for our sons’ education. There are a number of Magnet schools within Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) with excellent reputations in the area, including one just three blocks away. There are some well-regarded (and relatively affordable) private school options nearby too. And we are in a changing market for education. If there is demand, IPS will expand and create more options for students and their families or a charter school will come in and fill that need.
Since we moved in, we have endured the harsh winter just like all of you, and that has made it difficult to get to know my neighborhood. But here are a few quick observations and first impressions.
- Church bells – There are several gorgeous old churches nearby and you hear their bells ringing regularly. I like that.
- Retail – There isn’t much of it in my specific neighborhood, but there wasn’t The Foundry, Thirsty Scholar and Shoefly Public House in Herron-Morton even two years ago. There is a nice corridor for retail along Central Ave that is just a little bit of love and incentive away making a nice block.
- Central Part of Town – The particular part of MFC where I live is close to 38th/Meridian. That means, I’m eight blocks from the Monon Trail, walkable distance to the Fairgrounds, catty corner to Tarkington Park (which is in line for a major upgrade), 5 minutes to Broad Ripple, 5 minutes to Butler University, 10 minutes to downtown, easy access to the northwest side where my parents live, not too far from the Interstate to head to the airport and much, much more. I used to think I lived in a very convenient part of Marion County, but MFC is even more convenient for accessing all of Indy.
- Transit – I’m a big advocate of expanded/enhanced regional transit. We finally got a transit bill through the statehouse this year and voters will soon have a chance to have their say. When that goes through, and I believe it will, I’ll be very close to one of the planned rapid transit lines. But even now, I can walk less than a block over to Meridian and hop one of the many buses that regularly head downtown.
- Diversity – MFC is truly a socio-economic and racially diverse neighborhood and this seems to have been the case for a long time. MFC has been able to maintain its stability as a livable neighborhood and it’s only getting better as neighbors get increasingly involved and people like me discover what this neighborhood has to offer.
My hope is that MFC continues to flourish. I encourage families looking for an affordable, urban neighborhood to consider MFC and to give one of the great houses in the area a new life.