KIB’s IPL Project GreenSpace program creates pocket parks in some of Indianapolis' highest-need areas. KIB works with multiple neighborhood-based groups to provide expertise and resources needed to turn vacant or unused lots into active, environmentally healthy community assets. Neighborhood groups contribute volunteer labor and a vision for their landscape, and KIB arranges for everything else, including plants, tools, materials, volunteers, landscape design, and project management.
KIB has selected three projects for 2021. Our largest will be with CAFÉ (Community Alliance of the Far Eastside, Inc.), which wants to install a community orchard of fruit-bearing and native trees as well as a gathering space. Currently the site is a large open field bordered by homes, the Far Eastside Community Center—which houses CAFÉ offices, classes, career counseling, senior programs, and more—and commercial retail.
“Many residents use the lot as a pass-through to get home, to the community center, to surrounding businesses, and to the bus stop,” wrote CAFÉ. “This would create a nice welcoming place for those just passing by, an opportunity for those who live and work in the area to eat outside during their lunch break. The orchard will also be a learning opportunity for surrounding youth. This greenspace would be another symbol of hope and prosperity on the Far Eastside in the midst of some of the blight.”
The CAFÉ GreenSpace will serve three main goals: environmental improvement, food access, and community gathering space. Currently there is limited access to trees, greenspaces, and parks on the Far Eastside, which creates a “heat-island” effect—the excess of pavement and buildings makes summer temperatures uncomfortable (and potentially dangerous), increases energy costs, and reduces air quality. The site for this greenspace is the only grassy area on the lot, and it has been empty for over 20 years.
Upon completion, this greenspace will improve the air quality and attract more birds and wildlife. Additionally, the orchard and use of the site for a farmer’s market will increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables for the neighbors who live nearby. Finally, it will serve as a community gathering space where residents of the nearby homes and townhouses can interact while having the opportunity to take a break from their screens and enjoy the outdoors.
When you give to this campaign, you help us get that much closer to our goal of raising $6,000 in support of CAFÉ's greenspace. Once our goal is met, we will be able to apply for an additional $50,000 through the Gannett Foundation's A Community Thrives campaign, which will help cover the substantial costs associated with installing this project.