University Heights, UIndy bond grows

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The relationship between the University of Indianapolis and the University Heights neighborhood is continuing to develop. In recent years, the two groups have partnered to work on several projects together and are planning to do more in the upcoming year.

According to chair of social sciences and treasurer of the University Heights Neighborhood Association Jim Pennell, one of the continuing projects is made possible by Keep Indianapolis Beautiful.

The three tree plantings have involved UIndy students, faculty and University Heights neighbors. The group has planted more than 130 trees, including the trees in front of President Manuel’s house and the Stierwalt Alumni House, according to Pennell.

This led to another project for the two groups. Made possible by a Green Space Grant from Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, a new community park is being built at the corner of Edwards and Matthews avenues. Pennell is hopeful that students from the university will come to help work on developing the park.

“We’re hoping a lot of students will turn out for the Super Saturday of Service,” Pennell said. “We’re one of the sites students can volunteer for.”

The park also will house a shelter that will be available for use by the UIndy community, as well as the University Heights neighborhood. Pennell said that how the shelter will be available for rent is not yet certain, but that a plan will be put in place when the shelter is constructed.

A long-term project would involve putting in sidewalks on the streets that are lacking them for students who walk to their school on Asbury Street.

“. . . They walk either on Lawrence and Asbury, or Lawrence and State, and none of those streets have sidewalks, ” Pennell said.

New member of the neighborhood Jeri Warner, said that she enjoys living next to UIndy.

“One of the neighborhoods I looked at when I was moving was this neighborhood, because I knew [the] president supports community development,” Warner said. “So I thought that that was a good sign that the community would improve, rather than decline.”

As a further sign of cooperation, the University Heights Neighborhood Association holds its bimonthly meetings in the Stierwalt Alumni House. The most recent meeting was held on Sept. 16. On the agenda was the neighborhood’s preparation for the university’s 2014 homecoming.

Along with inviting UIndy students to attend the bimonthly neighborhood meetings, Pennell also suggested ways to keep the relationship between the neighborhood and the school positive.

The next University Heights Neighborhood Association meeting will be held in November.

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