The Midtown Anchor Coalition (Butler University, Butler-Tarkington Neighborhood Association, Christian Theological Seminary, Citizens Energy Group, Crown Hill Heritage Foundation, Indianapolis Museum of Art, International School of Indiana, Midtown Indianapolis Inc.) began with an initial meeting, hosted by Butler University, to determine the level of interest of anchor institutions in Midtown and in proximity to each other to collaborate on projects of common interest. Each anchor institution provided the consulting team with data to understand the collective impact of employment, visitors, students, workforce development, purchasing of goods and services, land use, civic engagement, and economic development. After the consulting team conducted field surveys and reviewed strategic plans from each institution, gaps and alignments surfaced as potential initiatives in which the institutions could collaborate. Six distinct themes became the basis for the framework plan.
A separate document addressed partnerships, geographic scopes, next steps, as well as an organizational structure, which is a critical consideration to ensure implementation. From the six themes and sixty initiatives, five catalyst projects were presented in the form of “pitch kits.” These provided a tool for generating public, private, and philanthropic support to advance the important work of the Midtown Anchor Coalition.
Uncommon partnerships were leveraged for new projects. Cemeteries, universities, and art museums are all affected by housing and safety conditions in the neighborhoods around them, and are taking an active role in addressing these issues. Now, they are investing in streetscapes beyond their property lines, and working toward more shared marketing. New joint programs include: expansion of Butler’s Dawg Watch, and Dawg Alert public safety programs; jointly pursued infrastructure funding; and establishing an incentive program to have employees live closer to where they work, in partnership with several non-profit housing and community development organizations.