Getting to Know Our Neighbors
Together with neighborhood associations in the community surrounding the Indiana State Fairgrounds, we are continually highlighting families that call our neighborhood their home. If you are proud of your neighborhood, please contact your association listed below and let them know. You too can be highlighted!
My Midtown – Hello Neighbor
Charles ‘Tony” Knight
On more boards than you’d ever aim to be on, and involved in more local initiatives than you can shake a stick at, Tony is the living, breathing definition of community involvement. He’s an activist who’s proud of who he is, where he’s from, and what he stands for. And what he stands for is community justice and social equity built from a peaceful, relationship-based approach. That approach shows in Tony’s portion of this Starbucks Story discussing Coffee with a Cop events; Form a relationship with a cop, have that cop touch the hearts and minds of a few kids, and you see the ripple effect begin.
The thing about Tony is that he’s not a shy guy because his activist drive doesn’t give him that option. Here’s an example. Back in 2007 leading up to the mayoral race, Democratic incumbent Mayor Bart Peterson was the locked-in Democratic pick to face one of six Republican contenders. Tony decided to jump into the race. Only he didn’t do so on the not-yet-settled Republican side, he challenged the locked-in Democrat, sort of. His challenge was less about winning an election and more about heightening awareness of issues. By his own admission in a WTHR interview, Tony said he had absolutely no chance of beating Peterson. But he wasn’t running to be a politician or even win necessarily. Tony ran to draw attention to public education and transit.
Early 1900s American anthropologist Margaret Mead said “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Tony lives by that same mantra daily. He calls Crown Hill home, but you can find him asking questions, building relationships, and driving change at worthwhile events and meetings across Midtown. Here’s to you, Tony; Here’s to you, neighbor.
Have a midtown neighbor you think deserves recognition in our “Hello Neighbor” section? Send a short blurb to firstname.lastname@example.org, subject line “Hello Neighbor”.
Lesley & Colin Gordon and Son Greyson
We moved into our house in Meridian Kessler Zone 2 last August during the middle of my pregnancy and dead of summer. We knew we needed a bigger home to raise our growing family. A home that had character and met our goals of living an active urban lifestyle. A home that had neighbors that cared about the community but understood it had a history that should be preserved. A home with great proximity to the Monon Trail, downtown and new places to eat and drink. A home with a park nearby that still had the hum of a transit line nearby. We got exactly what we asked for and more. We love that our neighbors like to eat and mingle with each other and keep a vigilant eye on the “goings on” around the neighborhood. We love that our son will grow up in area with a true socioeconomic mix. We love that even though there is criticism about schools in the city we have several great options. We love our home in the Meridian Kessler neighborhood!
Jay & Stacy Stallons
“We moved to Indianapolis for a job opportunity, and we chose a house in Meridian-Kessler. We wanted to reside in an urban area that would still give us a sense of community, so MK was the perfect choice. MK is full of amazing, welcoming, talented, and diverse people. We love it. We love it so much, in fact, that we had our 10-year vow renewal ceremony in our backyard with our neighbors and friends. My husband and I are lucky to call Meridian-Kessler home.”
Jeff & Erika McQuinn & Son Maslow
The Maslow’s became Zone 2 residents in 2013 when they purchased their first home on Guilford Avenue. They love spending time outdoors, especially riding their bikes on the Monon and exploring the many parks in the area. They love the close proximity to both downtown and Broadripple but love spending time in the neighborhood where there is always something going on. “The camaraderie in the neighborhood is unmatched and we love that the people in this neighborhood are not only great neighbors, but great friends.”
The Hanlon-Brokamp Family
Living in Meridian Kessler Zone 2 epitomizes community. We take care of one another in the day-to-day living of life and during moments of major need. There is a shared sense of responsibility for our neighborhood as well as our children. This is a village. We know how to celebrate life and diversity. Every day we feel fortunate to live amongst some of our best friends. We relish waking up Saturday mornings to the sound of children playing in our front yard – and our son never has to go far to find a friend to play with. The people of our neighborhood make it an amazing place to live. We get to call some of the most kind, generous, interesting, and thoughtful people we have ever met, neighbor.
William Oliver, City-County County Council Member, District 9
William “Duke” Oliver is a lifelong resident of Indianapolis and a graduate of Indianapolis Public Schools. He is a past member of the United Auto Workers union where he served as a leading voice for the interests and advancement of black auto workers. He retired from Chrysler Corporation in 2005 after 40 years of service.
He has been a lifelong community activist and serves as a leading advocate for the protection of labor and civil rights in our community. He co-founded the Movement for Opportunity and Equality with the late Senator Glen Howard and remains committed to its work. He is a lifetime member of the NAACP and a recipient of the Elwood Black Achievement Award and the Robert H. Voorhies Lifetime Achievement Award. He was elected to the Indianapolis City-County Council in 2004. He is a member of Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church and a proud husband of 47 years.
Mapleton Fall Creek
The Reyes Family
The Reyes family renovated an historic home in Mapleton-Fall Creek and moved in two years ago.
Mapleton Fall Creek
Generations of Joe King’s family have lived in and worked to improve Mapleton-Fall Creek. Joe is no different. For years Joe has worked to clean up the creek and taught area youth traditional outdoor recreation and conservation through the Outdoor Youth Exploration Academy, the youth-focused 501(c)3 division of the Dirty Dozen Hunting and Fishing Club.
Laura & Jacob VanderHaeghen with daughter Ceceila, and a newborn son on the way
Laura is a middle school band teacher and Jacob repairs brass instruments. They also have a beagle-boxer mix named Tilly that we found at the Mega Pet Adoption event two years ago. We have lived here since July 2008, and looked at lots of different areas for our first home. I love the neighborhood because of the ease of getting anywhere in the city, the close proximity to be College Branch library and pretzel shop as well as the playgrounds nearby like Tarkington Park and the SJOA playground and community garden, as well as the great character and architectural details of many of the homes as we walk around the neighborhood. I’ve really enjoyed the sense of community in zone 2 from our Facebook group to monthly brunches and girls nights as well as the special events like the Halloween parade and alley clean up. It’s been a great place to call home, and I look forward to many more years here.
Katie Swaney is proud to be one of the five co- founders of Do Good Indy, a non-profit started right here in midtown, Indianapolis. Do Good Indy recognizes the value of all community members, and the power that building personal connections can have in creating and strengthening a society which values diversity and inclusivity. Dreamed up in November 2016, Do Good Indy regularly identifies different Indianapolis or Indiana-based organizations that provide direct support to our Indianapolis community. They coordinate supply drives, fundraisers, and volunteering opportunities, for organizations that might not have their own dedicated community outreach staff. They take pride in bringing people together and helping those in the community who are most vulnerable.
When Katie is not coordinating events and sorting donations for Do Good Indy, you can find her outside with her son, Ethan, trying new local beers, and foods, or digging around at Arsenal Park, in the Keystone-Monon Community Garden. She is proud to call Indy home, and hopes Do Good Indy continues to grow in love and inclusivity.
The Williams Family
We moved to Watson-McCord Park area in the summer of 2016. After learning we were expecting a baby, we began looking for a house to purchase. We had a vision for what we wanted in our first home and looked at several older homes in the process. We found the perfect home where we could place our own personal touch on a house that has its own history and character. We look forward to many years of being good neighbors and stewards to the Watson Park area.