Trails in Indiana

All Community Building Starts With People

 What is a Community? What fibers are used to weave the social fabric of a vibrant Community? How does a Community organize itself?
With our series of documentaries the goal is to establish a permanent record of what leaders and groups have done to build trails and transform the life style of thousands of people in cities, towns, and rural communities throughout Indiana.
Following our curiosity to better understand the place we live, we assembled a reportage about people that are actively working to make the place we live a dynamic community.
Values such as giving back to the community, caring about the environment, making a better place where we live, and beautifying our neighborhoods have become more and more an important requisite to have the feeling of living a good life.
In the burgeoning Fountain Square neighborhood, so named for the heart of the community; the two fountains---Lady Spray and Pioneer Family---we found several believers who embody the diversity, individuality and commitment to build this new life style paradigm.

We first met Jim Mulholland, Community Builder for SEND, to dig inside the complexity of building a socially and economically thriving community.

 The challenge of getting residents, business owners and other neighborhood supporters engaged for the “good of all” as a means to their own self-fulfillment is not a skill that many people have on their resume.

Fortunately the Southeast side of Indianapolis under the guidance of Southeast Neighborhood Community Development (SEND) had in the Bates-Hendricks Neighborhood a resident with those skills.

Expertise in engaging people, guiding a vision to fruition, and gently directing followers along a common pathway to attainment of a better quality of life for all in the 13 neighborhoods that make up the Southeast side of Indianapolis. That resident is Jim Mulholland.

He was appointed for a three year term as the Community Builder for the Great Indy Neighborhoods Initiative (GINI).

Allocated budgets for the project were insufficient to continue funding a Community Builder; yet you only need to drive, bike or walk through the SEND area today to know and see the success of Jim’s work and talents.

We looked up at Fountain Square and discovered Dawn Kroh with her energy and optimism showing what knowledge and humanity can do to meet the expectation of the people.

Dawn Kroh, President of Green 3 Studio, LLC, an environmental planning and design firm, exemplifies the personal and professional commitment that unifies the Fountain Square community. Her contributions take many forms.

She became a Fountain Square stakeholder when she purchased the historic building that her firm occupies on the highly visible original fountain square. Her dedication to the sustained vitality of the community includes the voluntary contribution of her and her firm’s unique professional expertise in environmental design and planning in defining and realizing the quality of life that the neighborhood desires. Additionally, Dawn contributes to many organizations by providing a strong, clear voice for the essential silent partners in her urban community: Mother Nature, high-quality professional landscape design, and non-formulaic solutions for the good of all.

Within a block of the same fountain square we visited Kelli and Jon Mirgeaux---a breath of fresh air; young, competent, engaged, passionate to raise the bar of what their community can become. They are the new “typical” generation that will guide a neighborhood’s evolution.

Until recently the largest population of people in the United States that defined and influenced a way of life generally impacting all of us were the Baby Boomers. That generation of people was born between 1946 and 1964---all 76 million of them. But as their numbers decline every year; the new generation shaping an entirely different culture, life style and way of life are the Millennials---80 million people born between 1980 and 1995.

The leadership of Indianapolis has identified this generation as the one to attract to our city for its own sustainability and future growth. According to a 2014 Whitehouse Report from the Council of Economic Advisers, one of the 15 economic facts known about the Millennials is that they value community, family and creativity as a means of prioritizing their lifestyles. That fact has defined the growth and popularity of our targeted neighborhood of Fountain Square.

To understand this new way of life, we talked to a modern “pioneer” family---Jon and Kelli Mirgeaux---as they await the birth of their first child in their home in Fountain Square. Their community and how they give back to it are a constant component of their everyday life and typify the mind set of this generation as they and their peers rebuild and redefine the neighborhood of Fountain Square that can be embraced by all generations and for the good of all at least in Indianapolis.