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Senior Citizen's Guide to Indianapolis

Living in the Districts
Fun Living for All Ages in Indianapolis

Living in IndianapolisSay the words "urban living" and what comes to mind?

Energy? Activity? Commerce? Sure.

But what about family-oriented neighborhoods? Close-knit communities? Pedestrian-friendly streets? Grandkid-approved activities!

Residents of Indianapolis' six Cultural Districts want you to know that life within city borders combines all of these elements.

Additionally, Downtown Indianapolis was ranked as one of the best "four-season Downtowns" for retirement according to the book Retire Downtown. Indianapolis Downtown truly is home for seniors, for many reasons.

Randy and Amy Jones are raising two young daughters in the Indiana Avenue Cultural District. Their home is nestled along a quiet street –only minutes from IUPUI, the Indianapolis Central Library and Downtown attractions.

Amy Jones says, "We've got a nice neighborhood and good neighbors. And we can just step out the door and go to all these wonderful places."

You can find all ages living in each of Indianapolis' six Cultural Districts: Broad Ripple Village, The Canal and White River State Park, Fountain Square, Indiana Avenue, Mass Ave and Wholesale District.

Four of the six Districts are within walking distance of the heart of Downtown and its many businesses, restaurants, shops and attractions.  Fountain Square is just a mile south of Downtown. And Broad Ripple Village is only a short drive away.

Within these Districts you'll find a mix of ages, personalities and family structures, from couples with children to upwardly mobile singles to active empty nesters. And while the population is diverse, these neighborhoods tend to share common traits that make living in the Districts the perfect choice.

Convenience

Tadd and Julie Miller and their toddler son live in The Packard condos in the Mass Ave Cultural District. The urban-savvy couple travel frequently and, when home, savor dining out, attending Indianapolis Colts games and shopping. Tadd works just five minutes from home and loves the proximity.

Ron and Michelle Dow, both 50 with no children, enjoy a different type of convenience in the Broad Ripple Village Cultural District. It also offers easy access to the city's popular northside restaurants and shops.

But Broad Ripple Village is also a self-contained community, complete with its own eclectic independently-owned boutiques, eateries and nighttime hot spots, along with parks, grocery stores and other neighborhood life niceties.

Low-Maintenance Living

Perfect for seniors, many homes in the Cultural Districts come complete with development managers or homeowners associations that provide basic maintenance functions.  This is a strong draw for busy residents who would rather spend their limited free time relaxing than raking, mowing or shoveling.

Tadd Miller sings the praises of his Packard condo in the Mass Ave District. "I couldn't imagine having to commute every day to work, and then have to take care of a yard and a roof and siding and deal with contractors every three years. (Living in the District) is hassle-free."

Walkability

Resident after resident sings the praises of the pedestrian-friendly lifestyle that living in the Districts affords.

David Andrichik is one. A resident of the Mass Ave Cultural District (and owner of the District's well-loved Chatterbox Jazz Club), he chose his home in a Renaissance Place townhouse in part for its central location.

"I just can't emphasize (walkability) enough…The automobile becomes optional rather than necessary," he says.

The Wholesale District's Adam Kallick says his car "doesn't get much mileage on it," while Randy Jones says, "We can walk to the grocery, we can walk to the movies, we can walk to the mall, we can walk to the library. We can walk everywhere."

Diversity

Residents of the Cultural Districts treasure their neighbors as much as they do their neighborhoods. One major reason why: the diverse mix of people.

Mass Ave's Andrichik sees that first-hand at the Chatterbox. "If you were to do a (survey) of people that walk through the door, it's a tremendous cross section," he explains.

Brian and Mary Anne Sullivan, now empty-nesters, see an intriguing mix in The Canal and White River State Park District, where they live in Watermark. Not only does the neighborhood include a variety of residents, but the ever-evolving roster of area events keeps the atmosphere lively.

That's also what keeps Broad Ripple Village residents loyal to their District. "You have retirees, high school students, college students and everybody in between," says Ron Dow.

The result: a community where everyone enjoys interacting with – and learning from – one another. Stresses Broad Ripple Village's Anne Shane, "I think it's better to be in an environment where you've got all age groups and lots of different interests."

Then, there is the architectural diversity the Cultural Districts offer. The six Districts showcase a variety of housing styles, from sleek new condos and townhomes to painstakingly refurbished developments and lovingly restored homes from earlier eras.

That's what attracted Indiana Avenue Cultural District resident Theresa Crawford to her Ransom Place neighborhood and its 1890 Queen Anne-style home. "I particularly don't like the 'burbs because of the cookie-cutter (environment)," she says. "I like things that are very distinct looking. I like originality."

Community Spirit

With so many advantages to living in the city's Cultural Districts, singling out any one is a challenge for most residents. But repeatedly, they do stress one key component: life in the Districts doesn't mean sacrificing a neighborhood feel.

"You can raise a family Downtown and it's safe," Randy Jones emphasizes. "It's a happy place to be."

Mary Anne Sullivan raves about the neighborhood block parties held each year in Watermark – the largest, for the Fourth of July, draws 300 neighbors, family and friends to the development's courtyard for barbecue, live music and fireworks viewing.

That sense of place and people was a major draw for Matt and Tina Aalsma, who live in a refurbished 1885 home in Fountain Square. Says Tina, "You know who lives in each house, and they know you."  In fact, every Sunday night, some 40 neighbors gather for family dinners.

The theme continues, District by District. Concludes Randy Jones, "The people are the anchor to this neighborhood…We've got multiple generations of a couple families living in the neighborhood…We have one that's actually four generations. That's amazing. You don't get that in the suburbs."

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