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City of Indianapolis approves two significant redevelopment projects



Indianapolis, Indiana – On Indianapolis’ far east side, it has been more than five years since students last entered John Marshall Middle School through its front doors.

Parts of a land that was originally home to Central State Hospital have been redeveloped on the west side of the city. However, a nearby garage complex where the Indiana Department of Transportation once maintained vehicles has turned into an eyesore, is overrun with plants, and is a burden on the neighborhood.

The Metropolitan Development Commission has now decided to move forward with the process of revitalizing those dilapidated, abandoned sites.

For $725,000, the City of Indianapolis bought the 40-acre John Marshall property from Indiana Public Schools. They are now seeking a non-profit, neighborhood-focused developer to rebuild the building and make it a resource for neighborhood organizations and agencies.

Metro Development Director Rusty Carr described the entire property as “a real opportunity hub, a community serving hub that’s supporting entrepreneurship, supporting food distribution, supporting health initiatives,” and suggested that it may serve other functions in addition. Is that a residential area? Is that an expansion of commerce? Is it appropriate, considering the size of the campus, to have parks and other green spaces?

In addition to space for company growth, support services, transitional housing, and neighborhood amenities including a community garden, a playground, and an auditorium, IFF Indianapolis would offer training and educational opportunities.

A street with a number of racing stores is located on the opposite side of the city, not far from Gasoline Alley and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Rod Reid, the president and executive director of NXG Youth Motorsports, sees a location for his school, which instructs children between the ages of 11 and 16 in automotive and life skills.

First and foremost, Reid added, “our focus is to make sure they learn how to learn and start thinking.” They can utilize critical thinking and some of those math and science skills outside of the classroom, too.

“Then, we’re also urging them to continue their education beyond secondary school. We sort of explain to them what tire pressure is, how to measure it, and how to control tire pressure through peer pressure. Therefore, there must always be a balance between life skills and motorsports-related material.

Currently, Reid’s program serves 250 kids annually, but he predicts that number will triple when year-round courses are offered at the 25,000-square-foot site on Tibbs Avenue.

“The automotive industry in Indianapolis is such a huge, multi-billion dollar industry, and most of our kids from black and brown communities, they don’t have the connection or exposure, so we give that to them,” said Reid. “We’ve always considered NXG to be the link connecting the local area and the Motor Speedway. This brings us a lot closer to completing and creating that bridge.

“We would like to use that as a facility for education, training, and competition,” Reid continued. “We’ve talked about basketball and drone soccer, which is an intriguing new sport, if you will. We’re also talking about robotics and remote-control cars.”We’re talking about events like engine repair competitions, where students can actually gain practical motor experience, apply it for competition, and perhaps even be inspired to pursue that as a career in the future.

Reid is the owner of Myles Rowe’s car, the first Black driver to win an IndyCar-sanctioned race in 2021, and the Force Indy Racing Team.

The founder of NXG Youth Motorsports expressed his pride in the fact that a number of the thousands of kids who have gone through his program have found employment in the motorsports sector.

Before ribbons are ready to be cut and neighbors and kids are encouraged to join at both sites, more MDC approval is required, along with architectural and construction design costing in the tens of millions of dollars.

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