Ballard Strikes Again

Is Mayor Ballard trying to give people reasons to vote for Melina Kennedy?

The Administration is spending a part of the proceeds from the sale of the water company to demolish unsafe, abandoned houses. Most of us have no problem with that–but, just as with the “if it moves, pave it–but only during rush hour and don’t check with the utilities” program–the administration has decided to use a mallet when a flyswatter is called for.

As news reports have noted, the City has greatly increased the number of structures being demolished, and the pace of demolition. In its haste, the Administration has decided not to bother with pesky procedures like checking with the affected neighborhoods, insuring that the buildings slated for demolition are structurally unsound, or checking on the historical or architectural significance of the targeted structures.

A few days ago, the City demolished a park structure in the Butler Tarkington area designed by noted architect Ed Pierre. To add insult to injury, they announced plans to replace it with a $200,000 pre fab “toilet facility.” The neighborhood wasn’t consulted, and many Butler Tarkington residents are furious.

As Ericka Smith wrote in her Star column this morning, once a building is gone, so are the neighborhood’s options. Once a historically significant building is gone, it’s gone–once a structurally sound structure is eliminated, so is the potential for its reuse. That doesn’t mean you never tear anything down; it means you do your homework first.

Decisions made by each administration limit the ability of future generations to shape our city. That’s why it is so important that those decisions be made thoughtfully, and in consultation with those affected. The Ballard Administration seems oblivious to that reality.


  1. Sounds a lot like the “urban renewal” movement of decades past, where renewal meant knocking everything down that wasn’t pretty, regardless of historical value or likelihood of rehabilitation. This sort of demolition without planning tends to reduce density dramatically, which is something Indianapolis already struggles with.

  2. Which is worse? A Tennis facility for the neighborhood or a non-secured, unsafe commode? I’d like to be wrong but I think the potential for all sort of deeds is quite high in an enclosed public toilet at 39 and Illinois.
    Ballard’s been unremarkable at best-in over his head, I think.
    Many more important things to worry over than demo of a tennic facility in a park, replaced w/a commode…jeez.

  3. As workers demolished the building and children played nearby, a man abused his dog on the basketball court in the park in full view of anyone around. The dog lunged at the man after he kicked it in the face. I called the cops – both out of concern for the dog, and concern for the children whom the dog could decide to attack as it was apparently being trained to – yet the cops never came (though one drove leisurely by, talking on his cell phone.)

    Judging from this, Ballard & co. are more concerned with the city keeping up appearances of ‘improvement’ than they are for citizens’ safety.

  4. By trying to make this into a big deal, the Kennedy campaign looks terrible. Upon reading the Indystar headline my first thought was “did she fall behind in the polls? Is she getting desperate?” After reading the article, my thoughts were confirmed. I live about 5 blocks from the park and have played tennis on the adjacent courts. For as long as I can remember, this building was nothing other than a hangout for the homeless. Parents kept children away from that area of the park because they were concerned about the numerous homeless people hanging out there. I’ve lived in the area for 10 years, and this building has been an eyesore the entire time. Maybe if the city had kept up on this building, it would not have fallen into such poor shape (remember, multiple administrations ignored it).

    Should there have been more notice about the potential demolition? Absolutely. However, Melina Kennedy comes off as a person who doesn’t care about the issue, she just opposes whatever Ballard does. Ballard isn’t Bush, while he may be unpopular, you aren’t going to win this election by telling the voters “I’m not Ballard.”

    I really want to see Ballard out of office, but I’m not confident Kennedy will do it. A lot of voters are beginning to realize how misleading her position on education is in reality. I’ve heard many comments about Kennedy being confused about which office she is running for lately. She seems to want to expand the role of mayor in regards to education. Would the people who support this feel the same way if a Republican wanted more control over a local school district? Of course not. I think she may lose some independents based on this.

  5. Thanks, Sheila. Technology’s grand sometimes 🙂 Feel free to delete my “just curious…” comment and this one, too, for that matter.

    And thank you for posting about this travesty.

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