Announcing New Area Meetup Called Strong Indianapolis / by Jim Hodapp

I am very excited to officially announce a new area meetup called Strong Indianapolis that seeks to empower a local community of like-minded individuals who care about Indianapolis and want to see it flourish. We seek to continually make sure that Indianapolis is a livable, sustainable and desirable city for all people who live or just visit. What exactly does that mean? Let me give you some history about it and myself that might help explain things.

I've lived in Indianapolis for over ten years, first having moved here from Milwaukee to attend college at Butler University. Due to my career and various friends I've made along the way, I decided to make Indy my home instead of choosing another city. I've always liked Indy even from the very first moment I saw it when touring Butler. It has had and continues to have a lot going for it with many opportunities to become even better. I'm a software/hardware engineer by degree and through my career choice I've honed my eye for noticing details and wanting to help fix/improve upon things all around me. I can't help but notice so many different ways in which I'd love to see Indy be improved upon.

Fast-forward to about three years ago when I first discovered a non-profit organization called Strong Towns. Almost immediately I knew that I'd found something that deeply resonated with what I consciously and even more subconsciously thought and felt towards Indy as well as the many questions I had about it. They are questions such as why does Indy struggle to have adequate funding to do even some of the basics like sidewalks in all the places they make sense, or more effective public transit, or even why we struggle with basic storm water drainage and street potholes? Why does it have these financial struggles even though nearly 900,000 people directly living within the Indianapolis borders? Shouldn't there be enough sustaining tax revenue to pay for these things, and if not, why not? Strongs Towns has given me a framework of words and ways of thinking to identify the issues in Indy as well as what Indy does really well such as having a compact downtown that's highly walkable and bikeable while being quite affordable.

No longer will I sit on the sideline complaining or only asking questions. I want to do something to help Indy incrementally improve to become more human-centric and less car-centric, further evolve a strong sense of local culture and place that will be a national draw for people to both live and visit Indy, and further create a culture of sustainability in every sense of the word (quality urban infill and less sprawl, affordability in the midst of economic growth, environmental consciousness, public and private financial stewardship and wisdom, etc).

This meetup seeks to explore these ideas and create a strong local community that is passionate about figuring out ways to instill and implement these core principles all across our great city. It will also be a place to come and hang out for a social night at a local pub and geek out over all things urban. I hope it will be and remain a very open and inviting community of people from a diverse set of backgrounds.

The inaugural meetup will be Thursday, May 12th at Tomlinson Tap Room. Join us there and grab a beer and come with your own ideas for what you'd like to see this group become. I look forward to meeting everyone.

You may find more details as well as the Meetup.com page to sign up here: http://www.meetup.com/Strong-Indianapolis/