Woodruff Plays a Small Part in Indy’s Conversion to LED Streetlights

Woodruff Plays a Small Part in Indy’s Conversion to LED Streetlights
One promise that candidate – and now Mayor – Hogsett made during his 2015 campaign was to lift the decades-old moratorium on new streetlights. The moratorium – a move to keep the streetlight budget flat – was declared in the early 1980s and rescinded when the Mayor announced that 100 new streetlights would be installed during 2016.

For the most part, the City does not want to own streetlights. Rather, Indianapolis Power and Light owns all but a handful of streetlights in Marion County and leases them to the City at rates set by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. Rates cover power and maintenance and varies by fixture style and lighting technology. Woodruff’s fixtures are among the few owned by the City (due to the 1962 annexation).

Fast forward to 2012 when our fixtures were retrofitted to LED lighting technology, somewhat of an experiment at the time. We knew LED would use less electricity, estimated in 2012 to be about 75% less. Recently I asked the City’s streetlight administrator about actual savings. The answer: The City paid IPL about $20,000/year for the 74 Woodruff fixtures with mercury vapor lights; LED reduced the cost to about $5,000/year.

I also asked if any of the savings had helped underwrite the 100 new fixtures in 2016. The answer: Yes! The “experiment” with LED in Woodruff helped make 100 new fixtures possible.

More recently the Mayor announced that thousands of streetlights in Indianapolis would be converted to LED technology and that 4,000 new lights would be installed across town. Again, experience with LED in Woodruff helped shape this decision.

In-Case-You-Were-Wondering-Department: The Woodruff Place Light Brigade overhauled eight of our historic five-globe light fixtures during the spring and summer of 2017. Three fixtures had cracks in the large base piece which required welding, and five overhauls included new concrete pads to overcome “lean” caused by settling. Overhaul also includes complete disassembly, sandblasting, then priming and painting the parts and pieces. Concrete pads are replaced as needed.

The Survey Says…

The Survey Says…
In August, a survey was circulated to Woodruff Place residents through the newsletter and Facebook seeking input regarding the wonderful $5,000 award received from Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC) Indianapolis as part of its 25th anniversary program. The Woodruff Place Economic Improvement District (EID), the only successful initiative of its kind in our region, was selected as the Livability award recipient.

The EID board, which is responsible for determining how the money will be used, reviewed the survey results in September. The clear favorite, chosen by 65% of respondents, was the option to install existing statuary for one of the smaller fountains. It is currently stored in the Town Hall basement.

The EID board voted to use the money for this purpose. Many steps need to be taken before it can be accomplished: installation and additional components costs need to be determined, and additional funding may be needed. Research is underway to determine if a grant can support this effort.

We would like to thank all of the survey participants for their input.

Fence Gets Rebuilt

Piece by Piece, the Fence Gets Rebuilt

This summer and fall will see the installation of six more mini-sections of the 10th Street fence. A mini-section is comprised of five balusters, two half-rails placed between two medium posts and two caps, bolted on the original foundation. Volunteers lift the concrete, 200-pound half rails into place directed by long-time chairman Charlie Neill, who has developed special tools and methods over the years.

It’s a project for a turtle, not a hare. The August 1988 edition of the Woodruff Place Post reported the frustration of neighbors watching the “crumbling relic” deteriorate and whole sections disappear. That year, property owners voted to proceed with a plan to have molds constructed so fence pieces could be made by volunteers in the basement of the town hall. Five years of casting would be done before the first piece is installed on 10th Street. Since then, 45 mini-sections have been built or secured and 15 large posts have been cast on-site at the original entrances on 10th St. as well as Michigan Street. Many Woodruffians have given their time and energy to this project over the years and the tradition continues. “Thanks to everyone who has helped in one way or another,” said Charlie. “We’ll just keep making progress, piece by piece.”

(For UT September 2017)

Annual First Day of School Gathering

Annual First Day of School Gathering

The demographics of Woodruff Place have changed dramatically in the last ten years as many families with young children have made Woodruff their home.  This exciting development has led to a new annual event – the first day of school gathering of the elementary school students.

These gatherings have been growing and for 2017, the gathering included 40 students posing in front of the Middle Drive/Cross Drive fountain for photos. Like the paparazzi at a Hollywood opening, scores of parents snapped photos and shared hopes for the coming school year.  This group doesn’t include the 10 or so high school neighbors or the many preschooler, toddlers and infant Woodruffians.

President’s Message – August 2017

President’s Message

Jim Leich

Woodruff Place is unique among Indianapolis’ historic neighborhoods in that it was not only Indianapolis’s first suburb but was a separate town for almost 100 years before being absorbed into Indianapolis in the early 1960s.  As master planned by James Woodruff in the early 1870s, the Olmstead influenced development included esplanades filled with statuary and urns, nine fountains, historic streetlights, an ornate concrete 10th Street wall, and eventually a large town hall.

After Indianapolis annexed Woodruff Place, the city maintained this historic infrastructure over the years with a steadily declining amount of effort and care.  Woodruff residents began assuming responsibility for this maintenance through extensive volunteer involvement and successful fundraising events like the annual flea market and biennial home and garden tour.  However, it became increasingly clear that the level of maintenance, repair, and improvement of this infrastructure was well beyond the scope of these fundraising activities.

It is interesting to watch Downtown Indy pursue an Economic Improvement District since Woodruff Place successfully created an EID in 2016.  Through an EID, property owners agree to be “taxed” a relatively small amount per year to be directed toward a specific purpose overseen by the City Council and a locally appointed EID board.  For Woodruff, this is our historic infrastructure. The Department of Public Works has promised to match the EID money for five years.

For Woodruff, this has been a godsend since we have had to replace the Town Hall roof and redo the back wall and run new electrical service to the West and Middle Drive fountains in the last two years.  These projects have cost tens of thousands of dollars.  However, EID funding is restricted to certain types of projects.  Foundation funds pay for important projects that the EID cannot fund.  In 2017, that has included treating more than 50 public ash trees, part of the Town Hall stucco restoration, and a new section of the 10th Street Fence restoration.  Funds raised this fall will be pay for similar projects in 2018.

This is why Foundation fundraising is so important. We urge residents and interested nonresidents alike to make tax deductible donations to the Historic Woodruff Place Foundation.  These can be made online at http://www.woodrufplace.org or by check made to “Historic Woodruff Place Foundation” and sent to Town Hall at 735 East Dr. (or dropped in the mail slot!).  Thank you for supporting the neighborhood generously with your time, money, and spirit!