Traders Point could have developed much differently

I am fascinated by land use and the role public and private property owners play in land-use entitlements. There is a delicate balance between private property rights and the interests of the larger community. Zoning plays an important role in preserving and protecting private property values. Zoning can also result in disappointments for neighborhoods. Often political and economic development forces act like an invisible hand to subvert the interests of neighborhoods and even the Planning Department in land use. We will soon learn for example wheather the Ropkey property owned by Kite will be redeveloped in a manner which complements our community or alters it negatively.
These photos compare the way the area has developed to the way it could have developed if fate had played its cards differently.
After the Woodstock Country Club fire in the 1914, the board briefly considered a site on Moore Road for rebuilding, according to the late Madeline Fortune Elder. That site today is the Elder’s Traders Point Farm. (Members led by J.K. Lilly and Benjamin Harrison selected a site on Crawfordsville Road that is now the Country Club of Indianapolis.) When J.K. Lilly donated his 3500 acre Eagle’s Crest estate to Purdue University in the 1950s, they briefly proposed it as a site for a particle accelerator that went to Illinois and is now known as the Fermi Lab. When a gravel pit at West 86th and I-465 came on the market in the 1980s, it was briefly considered by Sunshine Promotions as a site for an outdoor amphitheater. This venue is now located in Hamilton County and is known as the Verizon Music Center. When Pike Township Public Schools considered purchasing a site at the northwest corner of West 86th Street and Moore Road for a middle school in 2005, Sheila Fortune stepped in and acquired the site for organic farming. When the Colts came to town in the 1980s they needed a site for a training facility and the city proposed a park-owned site south of West 56th Street. The Parks Department stepped in and insisted any transfer of city-owned parks land be swapped with other city-owned land. A site between West 79th Street and Interstate 65 was identified and the city terminated the mineral rights agreement with Allied Aggregates enabling the parcel to become a nature preserve. The Traders Point Creamery farmland was designated in the 1970s as a site for a neighborhood park. A 35 acre parcel at West 79th Street and Marsh Road was briefly considered by Traders Point Christian Church in 2003. After a zoning defeat on that site the church acquired 100 acres on Indianapolis Road in Boone County. Obviously things could have been much different.


About Ross Reller

I am pleased you have expressed interest in learning more about the historic Traders Point area in Indianapolis, Indiana. From 1980 to 1982 I was employed in the PR department at Conner Prairie Museum in Hamilton County. There I learned about William Conner, an important figure in Indiana's pioneer days. A decade later I became interested in the history of the Traders Point area and was surprised to learn that William Conner had been the first land owner in the area. In 1823 he acquired, through the Federal land office in Brookville, a patent for an 80 acre tract carved by Eagle Creek and an Indian trail that was about to be named the first toll roadway through the township (Lafayette Road). Thirty years later a village took shape within this tract. A grain mill on the creek, houses, churches, stores, restaurants, and two gas stations would take shape here in the creek valley hamlet of Traders Point. By 1962 all improvements (except a farmer's co-op) had been removed by the Indianapolis Flood Control Board to make way for Interstate 65 and a new reservoir. This blog is dedicated to preserving evidence of this historic area but I will occasionally use it to discuss related topics. To activate this follow, simply click the confirm button below. If you don't want to follow, ignore this message and we'll never bother you again. I am also a member of the Old Pleasant Hill Cemetery, a non profit association still selling burial plots for those who would like to spend all eternity in Traders Point, and I am an officer in the Pike Township Historical Society and the Traders Point Association of Neighborhoods.
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