NEAR Moves Forward in New Space

The  Near East Area Renewal (NEAR) organization has been around since 2003, starting life as Indy-east Asset Development, then changing its name to NEAR. The organization’s focus has always been on improving the near-eastside of Indianapolis by investing in its people and often untapped creative energies. NEAR has also committed to developing affordable housing on the eastside, focusing efforts on Rural and streets east of Rural, plus encouraging economic development along the East 10th St. corridor.
Housed in the John H. Boner Center on East 10th Street for many years, NEAR outgrew its space, and purchased the Moon Block Building from Englewood Community Development Corporation early in 2017. Englewood CDC rehabbed the building in 2009, and from 2010-2015, it was home to Little Green Boutique. In the new 2,000 square foot headquarters, redesigned by Lora Teagarden of Ratio Architects and constructed by Steven R. Keller, the open space can accommodate the community development staff, host small community gatherings, and help neighbors come together to plan for a better future for the near-eastside’s neighborhoods and people.near-sign-070717
Executive Director John Franklin Hay is delighted in the new space on the corner of 10th and Rural, pointing out the the tables were reclaimed from the East 10th Street Methodist Church and refinished by Tim & Avi’s Another Fine Mess antique shop a block away, making it a collaborative effort. The “NEAR” sign on the wall was a donation from Society of Salvage. However, just days after staffers moved in, a pickup truck plowed into the front of the building. “There were people sitting right there when it happened,” he said, pointing to a table about eight feet from the boarded up front. “The truck stopped just a foot or two away.” No one was injured in the accident, and the office is open, although repairs have yet to be completed. NEAR intentionally chose the location at the corner because it was a difficult intersection for many reasons — including traffic problems. They are calling the new headquarters a Center for Community Development; with this highly visible new space, Hay and NEAR staffers hope to move improvements forward.
They have a lot on their plate at the moment, with innovative projects that may lead to neighborhood revitalization and economic development. Chief among the projects is a Teachers’ Village, which seeks to rehab existing homes or building new ones on Rural Street for novice IPS teachers.  The Minnie Hartmann Center, which repurposes IPS School 78, will provide 64 senior housing units and space for a full-day day care for children when completed. They are also continuing the highly sucessful St. Clair Place Neighborhood Revitalization project, which has seen many rehabbed homes pass from distressed properties to affordable homes occupied by families. Caulk of the Town, which provides energy efficient weatherization, has helped hundreds save on their heating bills (the next one is Sept. 30, and they are looking for volunteers and homes to weatherize). They have also created the NEAR Indy Guide that offers broader access to the community’s assets online at
The new headquarters is another exciting step forward for NEAR and its efforts. For more information about initiatives and volunteer opportunities with NEAR, call 317-941-NEAR or visit