Woodruff Place Volunteer Spotlight: Matt Settimi

Woodruff Place Volunteer Spotlight: Matt Settimi, flea market chair

Q: How long have you lived in Woodruff Place and what made you choose to buy a home in this neighborhood?

A: I was introduced to Woodruff Place in 1998. I was renting in Broad Ripple at the time and a good friend of mine was renting at 940 Middle Drive, the 3-story brick building with great porches on the north end of Middle Dr. My lease was up and my friend told me to check out the apartment available in her building. I checked it out and was sold. I rented there for 2 years and fell in love with the neighborhood so decided to look for a house to buy. 839 West Drive was just the house for me. Both the neighborhood and the house reminded me of where I grew up in Fort Wayne so it felt like home. I was single at the time and wanted to dedicate my free time to fixing up an old house. With little experience besides helping my dad with all the fixing up he did over the years, I pulled the trigger and bought a house (26 years old at the time). Boy, did I not know what I was getting myself into and, 16 years later, I’m still fixing up this old house. No worries though, I’ve enjoyed almost every moment of it, almost every minute.

Q: What is your favorite neighborhood event and why?

A: The Flea Market, hands down. The first time I experienced the Woodruff Place Flea Market, I was beside myself. I could not believe the number of people that came through the neighborhood for this thing called the Flea Market. I love watching all the people that visit our neighborhood for this event and over the years have come to realize what a crucial fundraising event it is to maintain the historical infrastructure of the neighborhood. Equally enjoyable as the people watching is the treasure hunting and haggling with the sellers to get the best price possible. For the past 7 years, I’ve had the pleasure of chairing and planning my favorite event (including this year, the 40th year!).

Q: Favorite locally-owned Eastside business(es):

A: Hard to name just one so… LaParada is a go to. I remember when they first got started and we were excited to support a local near eastside restaurant. My wife and I have gotten to know the owners over the years and it brings us such joy to see them prospering. We’ve been known to eat there a couple times a week on any given week. Cosmic Chrome Café is another great one.  Terri and Cliff are residents, close neighbors and friends of ours who started a food tuck a few years back and are doing great. We love supporting them any chance we get. The Winter Farmers Market moved to the CCIC building recently and makes for a fantastic Saturday morning venture and after that, it’s fun to stop in to Center Point Brewery for a pint (also a spot to get some good grub from Cosmic Chrome). If you’re in the need for a quick caffeine boost, Rabble Coffee House is just down the street! Finally, I can’t end without mentioning Gordon’s Ice Cream because who doesn’t like local made ice cream?!? I do!

Q: Which fellow Woodruffian inspires you and why?

A: Again, it’s tough to choose just one. I have to start with Tessie and Kimble Lloyd Jones who have been and still are, a beacon of everything community. From the famous Flea Market parties to the Home Tour fashion show, they are always in the mix. Linda Gilkerson and Tom Abeel who tricked me into chairing the Flea Market (WP’s largest fund raiser of the year, yikes!). Need to know anything Woodruff? Ask Tom. Plus the countless hours of volunteer work they do. Cynthia and Bill Longest who not only are great neighbors but have spent a lot of time, sweat, tears and money fixing up some dilapidated houses in WP, not for profit mind you, to make the WP better.  Matt Gutwein and Jane Henagar who I think are a super power couple. Character and kindness are what come to mind when I think of these two. They are both leaders in WP and the Indianapolis community. Their quiet strength and leadership remind me that you don’t have to be loud to have a voice. Damen Hostetter and Katie Lloyd Jones are another. These two just go and go and go. Just like Tessie and Kimble, they are always involved and always happy to help.

I never knew the true definition of community until I moved to WP. Every one of these people have dedicated their free time and efforts into making this neighborhood better, a fun, safe place to live.

Q: Occupation/Education:
A: Retail Manager at ICC Floors in Castleton. Herron School of Art, Bachelor of Art Education

Q: Hobbies
A: Woodworking, Hiking/Camping, Exercise, travel and good ol’fashion neighborhood living.

Q: Volunteerism (both in WP and beyond):

A: I love being a part of the neighborhood Spring/Fall clean up. Yes, it’s work but damn it’s fun. Home Tour, which our house was a part of several years back. Flea Market, which I’ve chaired for the last 7 years. WP Civic League Board (one term), which opened my eyes to all the hard work that goes into maintaining a strong community. Caulk of the Town organized by NEAR. I have hosted the Progressive Dinner one year.

Q: What do you hope the future holds for WP?

A: My hope for WP is that we continue to grow as a community and be an example for what is possible when a small group of dedicated people come together to affect change. With the younger folks/families that are moving and setting roots in WP, I believe we will continue to thrive and not only in WP but the larger Near Eastside community.

Most of you reading this are good friends who dedicate countless hours to the continued prosperity of our beautiful neighborhood which in turn contributes to the betterment of our great city. Thank you all for being such good people.

Woodruff EID Livability Award

Woodruff EID initiative recognized for Livability Award

The Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC) Indianapolis celebrated its 25th Anniversary on April 27th by awarding $25,000 to five community game changers in the Indy region that have made outstanding progress in developing their neighborhoods as desirable places to live, work, learn and play. The awards gala took place at the Indiana War Memorial with more than 400 people in attendance. The awards were divided into four categories: Livability, Opportunity, Vitality and Education (LOVE) as well as a people’s choice award decided that evening. A $5,000 award was made in each category and the Woodruff Place Economic Improvement District (EID) was selected as the Livability award recipient as the only successful initiative of its kind in our region.

LISC solicited applications for LOVE awards beginning late 2016. The over 30 applicants were narrowed down to a group of three finalists for each category for which each had a short promotional video made. In addition to vying for a cash award, each finalist had the benefit of having access to these videos which will serve as great tools for spreading the word about their organizations in the future. The Woodruff EID was up against two great Livability finalists, each having their merits. Finalist projects were encouraged to rally supporters to attend the event on the 27th and Woodruff had a robust crew in attendance when the award was announced. The $5,000 will be added to the balance of the EID funds to support additional renovations and preservation of the historic Woodruff Place features.

Left to Right:
First Row: Jennifer Vines, Missy Ellis, Sally Cook, Tom Abeel, Linda Gilkerson, Tessie Lloyd-Jones, Jim Leich, Suzanne Pritchard, Greg Staab
Back Row:
Will Pritchard, Kimball Lloyd-Jones, Jason Eberl, Emily Scott

Residents Darala White Barnett, Charles Neil, and James Ryan also attended (not pictured).

Easter Egg Hunt 2017

On Saturday April 15, Woodruff families gathered for an Easter Egg hunt behind Town Hall. Children enjoyed candy and hunting for treats among trees, rocks and other features.

Photo L-R, Elliot Stein, Sadie Stein, Carrie Smith, Owen Smith, Odin Belsaas, and Carson Niedemeier


Creative Mornings crowd brings energy to Town Hall

Creative Mornings crowd brings energy to Town Hall

The Woodruff Place Town Hall saw a packed house on the morning of April 21st as part of a worldwide Creative Mornings event series. Creative Mornings organizers designate a monthly theme that is explored in 170 cities throughout the world. Participants enjoy fresh coffee and friendly people while highlighting a city’s creative talent, but also promoting an open space to connect with like-minded individuals.

Mat Davis and Woodruff Place resident, Meredith Brickell, were the featured speakers of the April 21st gathering. Having worked together through the House Life Project, a grassroots, arts-focused initiative based in an abandoned house on the Near Eastside of Indianapolis, Davis and Brickell explored ideas around suburban and urban living, artists’ role in community revitalization and the concept of ‘place’. “Artists act as a monitor to test the temperature of the housing market” said Davis, who has been a leader of several community-based arts initiative in Indianapolis. As these initiatives grew and attracted new types of people to the neighborhood, changes in the desirability of the real estate followed.

Davis and Brickell skillfully and humorously wove their diverse personal experiences living and working in different environments into an evolving story about preferred lifestyle environments throughout recent history in the United States that have shifted from urban, to suburban and circling back again. “Gentrification and displacement get lumped together but they’re not exactly the same thing” said Davis. The exploration of this topic at an event in Woodruff Place was especially interesting given the housing revitalization that is quickly taking hold in many of the surrounding neighborhoods. To learn more about the Creative Mornings series, visit https://creativemornings.com/cities/ind

2017 Woodruff Home Tour Tickets

Get your tickets in advance here.

Sat, Jun 24, 2017, 12:00 PM – Sun, Jun 25, 2017, 5:00 PM

Historic Woodruff Place welcomes you to stroll the esplanades through the shade trees while stopping to enjoy the amazing homes and gardens. Seven homes, four gardens, three chicken coops, one art studio. The tour is noon-5 each day. Saturday, June 24, Sunday, June 25. Check in at the Town Hall located at 735 Woodruff Pl East Dr.