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