January 8th, 2015
New Neighborhood Banners in Herron-Morton Place
by Andrew Christenberry
As a recent Indianapolis immigrant, one of the first things I noticed about my new city was a bit surprising to me. There is a deep pride among Indy’s downtown urbanites taken in where they live. When you ask anyone where he or she is from, you will almost never hear anyone simply reply, “I live downtown,” or “I live on the Southside.” No, because, as I have come to realize, urban living in Indy is all about neighborhood identity. It’s about taking pride in, representing, and growing your neighborhood. So, in the spirit of true urban living in Indy, it is my pleasure to introduce a neighborhood that is raising the bar in the representation department: Herron-Morton Place.
What began almost a year ago with a meeting of few neighbors has, just in the last month, come to a glad fruition with the addition of brand new neighborhood banners proudly displayed around the border and throughout the Herron-Morton Place neighborhood. “Our group began brainstorming in February of 2014,” explained Jon Berg, President of the Herron-Morton Place Foundation, “We decided to commission Amy McAdams to create a few different banner designs. While it took a little while for the project gain traction, the efforts were abundantly worth it because we want people to know that Herron-Morton Place is our neighborhood and home. We also wanted to draw attention to the up and coming areas of 16th Street and 22ndStreet that serve as the borders of our neighborhood.”
While neighborhoods such as Fountain Square, and even some streets like Massachusetts Avenue have produced their own symbols in order to foster a greater sense of place, it seems this trend is truly catching on as Indy’s neighborhoods seek new ways to build their own unique communities. With their new banners proudly waving, Herron-Morton Place provides the aggregate Indianapolis community with an inspiring story of patience, perseverance, and creativity all in a place-making effort to show us who they are.
“We installed a total of 28 banners this December that encompass most of the neighborhood,” Berg explained, “We mapped out the light poles available in the neighborhood where we could install and focused first on 16th and 22nd where many of our businesses and neighborhood assets like Herron High School reside. It’s important that people associate us with these great places.”
Banner designer and local artist Amy McAdams said, “It was very much a collaboration between the Herron-Morton Place Neighborhood Association and myself. I tried to pick a variety of elements that represented different facets of the architectural styles that are found in the neighborhood. Their direction was to use the neighborhood, and its architectural elements as inspiration.”
Initially, this was a pilot project consisting of six banners along 16th street, which is the southern border of the neighborhood. Berg explained, “After the creation of the original six banners, we received word from the Harrison Center for the Arts that they would match whatever funds the neighborhood could raise to expand the project throughout the entire neighborhood.”
This grant match helped the neighbors visualize what they were supporting, and after the funds were raised, the neighbors received permission to have the banners installed. Due to the excitement of the neighborhood, and with the help of the match from the Harrison Center, this project backing quickly grew and resulted in an unprecedentedly fast project completion. “Needless to say, everyone was excited about the project,” Berg said with a smile on his face. “For now, the future plans are to keep an eye on what we’ve installed, and immediately repair any banners that fall victim to the winter weather.”
While the neighborhood banner project is complete for now, there is still a need for additional funding for the ongoing beautification and restoration of Herron-Morton Place. Berg and his neighbors have partnered with the HMP Association to work on the 16th Street bump-outs in 2015, and some good progress has already been made with support from the Nottingham Realty Group. So keep an eye out for the continued beautification of this extraordinary historic Indianapolis neighborhood that is coming soon.
As for today, Herron-Morton Place stands a visual representation and testament to the fact that Indianapolis is growing in its underlying sense of place. Indy residents are taking pride in their neighborhoods, building their communities, and making Indianapolis an abundantly great place to live. To learn more about what Herron-Morton Place has in store, and to donate to their effort, please visit www.herron-morton.com/neighborhood/gateway-beautification.