In 2015 a triangular lot at the intersection of W. Michigan and N. Holmes on Indianapolis’ Near Westside was transformed into a gateway park as part of a partnership between neighborhood leaders, the Humane Society of Indianapolis, Westside CDC, and Keep Indianapolis Beautiful (KIB). The effort was part of the Great Places 2020 initiative led by LISC-Indianapolis, and KIB, who was asked to lead early action wins in the neighborhood.
Following an engagement process, the triangle lot was quickly identified by neighbors as a critical space within the Great Place boundary that needed renovation. The transformation included a significant cleanup along the CSX corridor to remove tall brush and unwanted weeds, adding native plants and trees, creating a fence weaving, and installing a 10’ tall interactive locomotive-themed artwork. Much of the work was and is led by neighbors, aided by volunteers during the 2015 Lilly Global Day of Service, and will be stewarded in the future by the nearby Humane Society and other volunteers.
Designed by w/Purpose owner and designer Wil Marquez, and fabricated by local eastside artist group Cutting Edge Craftsmen, the train is a subtle metaphor symbolizing the crossroads of several neighborhoods, cultures and classes working together to make a Great Place where people can live, work and play. The piece is monumental and impressive, and allows people to get up into it for a different point of view and to envision the future of one of Indianapolis’ new great neighborhoods from a locomotive window.