Tarkington Park Opening Ceremony

July 29, 2017

Below are my comments from today’s opening ceremony for the improved Tarkington Park. The improvements to Tarkington Park were designed and funded via Proposal 77, that I proposed and passed in 2014, as an At-Large member of the Indianapolis City/County Council.

“Good morning. I wanted to use my time today to discuss how the improvements to Tarkington Park came about. About 10 years ago, after being elected to be Butler-Tarkington Neighborhood Association (BTNA) President, I started meeting with neighborhood leaders and businesses. There were lots of ideas for how to make Butler-Tarkington a more livable neighborhood including eliminating the parking meters at 38th and Illinois – but one idea out stood out above the rest. Kathy Shorter, one of the founder’s of Midtown Indy, had a vision for Tarkington Park as a place where all of Midtown could come together. As time went on this idea gained currency and support. First BTNA, followed quickly by our friends at the Broad Ripple Village Association, the Meridian Kessler Neighborhood Association, Mapleton-Fall Creek and from Crown Hill neighbors. Universally, we recognized that a strong Tarkington Park could be a place where all our Midtown neighborhoods — and all of Indianapolis — could come together. Ultimately, as a member of the Indianapolis City/County Council, I was honored to introduce and pass Proposal 77 that funded the park improvements. Today, the results are clear – Kathy’s vision, put forward 10 years ago, has resulted in a park that is an exciting, dynamic place for families of all backgrounds come together to play and enjoy life.”


Tarkington Park Openeing


Joint Statement from City-County Council President Maggie A. Lewis and Vice President John Barth on 2013 American Community Survey

September 18, 2014

September 18, 2014

Joint Statement from City-County Council President Maggie A. Lewis and Vice President John Barth on 2013 American Community Survey

Census information confirms families in Indianapolis continue to struggle

INDIANAPOLIS – City-County Council leadership issued the following statements today in response to the release of the 2013 American Community Survey for Indianapolis, which showed that one in five residents (21.5%) and nearly one in three children (30.4%) currently live below the poverty level:

“These disturbing numbers confirm what many across Indianapolis have felt for some time – it is harder than ever for families to make ends meet in this city. Worse yet, these numbers have been trending in the wrong direction for a number of years now.

As we come together as a city to discuss the root causes of violence in our community, we must take action to turn back the tide of poverty that has swept over too many neighborhoods in recent years. Only by doing so can we hope to truly bring about the changes that will make this a safe city once more.”


Community Affairs Committee to Focus on Indy’s Recycling Program and Cleaner Energy Options

July 16, 2014

Community Affairs Committee to Focus on Indy’s Recycling Program and Cleaner Energy Options

Indianapolis – The Community Affairs Committee of the City-County Council will meet on Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 5:30 p.m. in the City-County Building to discuss ways the City can improve its recycling program and insure a future with cleaner energy options.

The Committee will review Indianapolis’ current recycling program, discuss the Mayor’s proposed contract with Covanta for a “dirty” materials recovery facility, and hear presentations regarding innovative approaches and best practices in recycling across the United States. In addition, the committee will also hear a resolution encouraging Indianapolis Power & Light Company to commit to a plan to stop burning coal in Marion County by 2020 and to invest in greater amounts of clean, renewable energy, reducing toxic emissions at the Harding Street plant.

“The goal of the Council’s Community Affairs Committee is to bring key policy issues to our city’s neighborhoods. I’m excited to use the Committee as a forum for residents of the city to learn more about efforts to improve the environment insure a better quality of life for our citizens,” said Committee Chairman John Barth.

Chair Barth invites all citizens to come and share their thoughts on Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 5:30 p.m. The meeting will be held in the Dr. Beurt R. SerVaas Public Assembly Room on the second floor of the City-County Building, 200 E. Washington Street.


Council Democrats Propose Initiative to Stabilize Neighborhoods and Reduce Crime

June 25, 2014

Council Democrats Propose Initiative to Stabilize Neighborhoods and Reduce Crime

Indianapolis – Today Democratic members of the Indianapolis City/County Council announced a new initiative that will bring vacant properties and empty lots back to life and provide rent-free homes for public safety officers, including IMPD Officers and Sheriff’s Deputies. The proposal will be introduced at the July 14, 2014 meeting of the Indianapolis City/County Council.

“Blighted homes and empty lots are more than an eyesore that decrease property values. They attract vandalism and other crime that can affect the entire neighborhood,” said Councilor John Barth. “What better resident of a rehabbed house in a high-crime area than an IMPD officer or a Sheriff’s Deputy whose presence will strengthen a neighborhood.”

With Indianapolis’ current murder count at 75, the city has the highest murder rate at this point of the year dating back to 2008. At the current pace, the murder count is projected to hit 162, or 19.19 deaths per 100,000 people. This initiative is aimed at reducing crime and stabilizing neighborhoods by encouraging IMPD officers and Sheriff’s Deputies to live in redeveloped or newly constructed houses on vacant lots in high crime areas, where they can reside for two years rent-free.

“Indianapolis neighborhoods have suffered far too long from the ongoing violent crime wave,” said Council President Maggie A. Lewis. “This proposal will be the cornerstone of the Council’s plan to ensure IMPD and Sheriff resources are where they are needed the most – close to home.”

The program – called “Safe Neighborhoods Now!” – will begin as a pilot to test the effectiveness of the concept. The first pilot round of housing will be developed in partnership with the Mapleton-Fall Creek Community Development Corporation (MFCCDC) in the Mapleton-Fall Creek neighborhood. The program will construct or rehab up to five houses in high-crime areas of the city, partnering with different Community Development Corporations, using $1,000,000 in funds repurposed from Rebuild Indy.

At the end of an officer’s Safe Neighborhoods Now! two-year residency, the officer will be offered the opportunity to buy the house. This will create a permanent public safety presence in the neighborhood and put the house back on the property tax rolls.

Marion County Sheriff John Layton stated, “I support community policing, neighborhood preservation, and better compensation for our law enforcement officers. Thus, the Council’s proposal seems to be a win-win-win situation. Therefore, I look forward to working with the Council and other public safety officials, throughout the legislative process.”


Statement from Councilor Barth on the passage of Proposal 77

June 3, 2014

“I’m very pleased that Proposal 77 passed the full Council tonight. The investment in Tarkington Park is especially important. The park is a key element of the community’s desired revitalization of the area which has long suffered from crime, disinvestment, and population decline. Area neighborhoods have worked together to craft comprehensive plans to reverse the decline and promote reinvestment – with a focus on transforming a long underutilized Tarkington Park and encouraging redevelopment around the park. I believe that the implementation of the park plan is vital to leveraging additional private investment in the area which has had its share of challenges in past decades but, with the revitalized Tarkington Park as the cornerstone, is ready to return to thriving and vibrant neighborhood center that it once was.”


February 24, 2014


February 24, 2014


Action-Based Agenda Shows Results

INDIANAPOLIS – In 2014 the members of the Indianapolis City/County Council will continue to lead based on the priorities of our residents in each and every neighborhood.

“During 2013, Councillors listened closely to our city’s residents, and it is clear they want a city where every neighborhood has the opportunity to thrive and where every citizen is safe,” said Council President Maggie Lewis.

Council priorities and successes in 2013 included:

Results-Oriented, Bipartisan Leadership: Council leadership operates with an inclusive, community-oriented leadership approach that focuses on achieving results for every Indianapolis zip code. Key examples include:

  • Budget compromise: Council leadership led the way to develop a bipartisan budget compromise, resulting in 80 new IMPD officers with no new taxes;
  • Resolution Against HJR-3: With bipartisan support, the Council passed a resolution opposed to HJR-3. Our city is a welcoming place to live, work and play and our State Constitution should embrace that; and
  • Disability Business Enterprise:  The Council passed an ordinance that created a Disability Business Enterprise program for the City of Indianapolis. This program ensures that people with disabilities have a pathway to start their own businesses.

Protecting the Public: 2013 saw the highest rate of violent crime in more than a decade, and 2014 is seeing the troubling trend continue. The Council demanded and took quick action, with two key proposals to support our neighborhoods now in place:

  • 80 additional IMPD Officers: The Council demonstrated clear and strong support for public safety. Through tough negotiations with the Mayor, we were successful in adding more police – ultimately adding 80 new officers – to the IMPD ranks while staying within our budget.
  • IMPD Staffing Commission – Finding a Long-term Solution: In December of 2013, the Council created a bipartisan study commission to determine the appropriate and necessary number of IMPD officers and to review and analyze long-term funding options. The bi-partisan Commission is now meeting and will have recommendations by March 31, 2014.

Strong Neighborhoods: The Council believes supporting our neighborhoods is a priority that will help our city prosper. In 2013, the Council pushed forward several key initiatives:

  • Quality of Life: The Council passed a bipartisan proposal to reduce and remove graffiti in Indianapolis neighborhoods. The new ordinance is aimed squarely at giving neighborhoods an important tool to improve the quality of life.
  • Community Affairs Committee: As it did in 2013, the Community Affairs Committee continued to hold meetings in the community, including the Library Service Center.
  • National Recognition for Complete Streets: In 2013, the National Complete Streets Coalition recognized the Indianapolis “complete street” multimodal transportation ordinance to be the best in the nation.

“There is no question that crime is at the top of the list of community concerns, and in 2013, the City/County Council took action to address the city’s violent crime crisis,” said Council Vice President John Barth. “We will continue our clear, consistent focus on public safety in 2014 because we owe it to the people of this city who have chosen to live, work and raise their families in our neighborhoods.”

“I am proud of all our Councillors – they work hard every day, often on top of full time jobs – to represent their constituents. The results from 2013 speak for themselves,” said President Lewis.


Community Affairs Committee Meeting to Focus on Turnaround School Performance, Charter Authorizers

February 7, 2014

For Immediate Release

February 7, 2014

  Media Contact:

SaRita Puckett



 Indianapolis – The Community Affairs Committee of the City-County Council will meet on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 5:30 p.m. at Carl Wilde School 79 on the west side to discuss several key education-related issues that significantly impact students and families in Indianapolis.

 The Committee will receive a report on the performance of the four turnaround schools overseen by the City’s Office of Education Innovation under a contract with the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) and an update on the authorizer status of Imagine Life Sciences Academy West charter school. Formerly authorized by Ball State University, Imagine West recently gained approval from Trine University to continue operating past its original charter term. There will also be a brief update on the planned community meetings of the Lewis Hubbard Group, a 16-member commission focused on expanding pre-school in Indianapolis and re-purposing vacant school buildings. 

 “The goal of the Council’s Community Affairs Committee is to bring key policy issues to our city’s neighborhoods. I’m excited to partner with IPS to hold this meeting on the west side of Indianapolis,” said Committee Chairman John Barth. 

 Chair Barth invites all citizens to come and share their thoughts on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 5:30 p.m.  The meeting will be held at Carl Wilde School 79, located at 5002 W. 34th Street, Indianapolis, Indiana 46224.