Zoning panel approves Broad Ripple project

Wednesday's meeting was packed.
Published: .
Updated: .

A decision on highly controversial project planned for Broad Ripple is moving forward.

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Development Commission voted 5-2 in favor of the $27 million mixed use project following an hour and a half of testimony Wednesday afternoon. The project now moves on to the City-County Council.

The debate has been broiling for six months, with developers saying the project would bring more people and money to Broad Ripple. Opponents have argued it's too big and out of character. Their concern is that "mom and pop" businesses would be choked out.

"Broad Ripple is going to change, that's part of evolution...downtown is changing, Carmel has changed," said architect Mark Demerle, who has lived and worked in Broad Ripple for years.

Demerle thinks to really thrive, Broad Ripple needs more residents and new reasons to come here.


"We are very viable, but we need a lot more businesses to come in to help pay for the amenities we want," he said.

Developers still need TIFF money from the city before the project can continue.

Opponents are still weighing their options and they say the battle isn't over.

"It's not about the competition," said Rudy Nehrling, who owns a natural food store.

Nehrling has pretty much led to opposition to the Whole Foods project, planned just a third of a mile from his store. He says it's about preserving the character of the village and that project is too big and will bring too much traffic.

Charlie Revard is one of the people who has tried not to take sides. His family has owned a bike shop in Broad Ripple for years.

"People in the businesses around here are my friends," he said. "It's just time for everyone to be able to move on."

Nehrling, though, says he's glad so many people got involved, even if they didn't agree.

"Lots of people wanted to weigh in and that's great...a lot of communities with projects have apathy," he said.

So far, he doubts he's lost any customers, including Demerle.

"I go there and buy herbs and health care things and I'll continue to do that," Demerle said.