Alicia Baker, Near Eastside Resident

Dear Indy,

I found you five years ago, almost by accident. I had just graduated with my master’s degree out in California (where I was born and raised) and was looking for a job. To be honest, I wasn’t only looking for a job, but also a place to put down roots... A place where I could use my gifts and talents to make the world a better place in my little corner of it.

And then I found you.

I like to say I fell in love with you and Josh around the same time. Being a native Hoosier, Josh helped me fall in love with Indy. Young and full of optimism, we decided together to commit fully to Indy and bought a house in St. Clair Place on the Near Eastside.

The media paints a grim picture of violence as the only thing that happens on the Near Eastside, but to do so is a grave error. There is so much more, if you only look a little deeper.

At first glance, there's so much to love about the Near Eastside. The annual Feast of Lanterns festival in Spades Park. Amazing restaurants like Tlaolli, Mayfair Taproom, or 10th Street Diner. Pogue’s Run Art & Nature Park. The Victorian houses in Woodruff Place or the cute cottages in Little Flower. Circle City Industrial Complex. Gems like the Golden Ace, State Street Pub, or the Tick Tock Lounge. Historic architectural buildings at Arsenal Tech High School and in Brookside Park. The Tiny Statue of Liberty Museum... So many fun, quirky things that make the Near Eastside a vibrant place to be and live.

But what I love most, by far, about the Near Eastside is its people. To paint a picture of the Near Eastside without the people who live, work, worship, learn, and play here would be a mistake. Near Eastsiders are resilient, determined, and tough as nails. Neighbors have been through the best of times and the worst of times, but still they press on. To quote a famous Eastsider, there may “always be some $#!& going down” on the Near Eastside, but it’s our $#!&. And we’re committed to making it better for generations to come.

We’re doing this in big and small ways. If you’re paying attention, you'd see neighbors out on porches watching each other's kids play curb ball in the streets on summer nights. You'd see artists supporting one another at Hoy Polloy or at CCIC on a First Friday night. You’d see small businesses coming together to participate in Raiders of the Lost Antiques. You’d see people out running in the middle of winter and inhaling donuts to raise money for Teacher’s Treasures (PSA: the Donut Dash is next Saturday - sign up!!) You’d see staff and teachers at our community schools and early education programs who are fighting for their students’ futures. There’s no Near Eastside without neighbors.

And that’s why I love you - the people truly do make the city. I might be a Californian by birth, but I’m a Hoosier by choice. Thanks for giving me a place and people to love.

Eternally grateful,


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