Tradition vs. change in Broad Ripple development fight

Published: .
Updated: .

Tradition versus change. That's the debate right now in Broad Ripple over an $18 million development.

The project includes a Whole Foods and a whole lot more on College Avenue along the canal. A public meeting was scheduled for Thursday night at 6:00 pm to discuss the issue.

Developers want to replace a former Shell station with a 35,000-square foot specialty grocery store - most likely Whole Foods, 88 high-end apartments and a 274-space parking garage for residents and shoppers.

The plan has spurred protests. It also has people here talking about the future of the village.

Leslie Dolin has worked at the Monon Coffee company for 15 years.

"People are pretty traditional about what they want Broad Ripple to stay or become," said Dolin.

Dolin doesn't necessarily like the direction it's taking. She worries about the scale of new projects and the proliferation of chains.

"I think new business is great, I just really feel it should be more local and entrepreneurial," she said.

Jennifer Velasco also prefers keeping things local. She's owned the Bungalow for 19 years.

"Change is scary. It's not always easy," she said.

But she also thinks Broad Ripple needs to grow up by offering a better balance between bars and businesses that are more apt to attract a broader audience.

"I just want more reasons to come here in the day and have lunch and dinner and know it's not - we're not just that one street," said Velasco.

Both want to maintain the local flavor of Broad Ripple. They just differ a little on what that looks like.

Dolin fears the Whole Foods project will make it easier for other big projects to follow.

"It just seems there needs to be a compromise between progress and ruining businesses already here," she said.

Broad Ripple introduced a master plan outlining goals for development and infrastructure improvements last year.

The Broad Ripple Village Association will vote early next month, and the project would still require the approval of the zoning board.