This month we're talking about the new IDO Volunteer Coordinator, the Benton House Egg Hunt, Discover Irvington, and getting creative with a neighbor!
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Neighbor Spotlight
Seth Brooke: Get to Know the Man Behind the IDO Volunteer Requests

IDO has recruited Seth Brooke to be our Voluntary Volunteer Coordinator. With so many things going on in the neighborhood, the board thought we could use the help of someone solely dedicated to recruiting and managing volunteers to better extend our impact and effectiveness. And who better to engage than the veteran coordinator from the past several Halloween Festivals! To introduce Seth to IDO supporters and prospective volunteers, we asked a few questions of him:

How long have you lived in Irvington? Eight years.

How did you first hear of Irvington and why did you move here? Irvington resident Clark Giles was my real estate agent.  He was able to convince me that Irvington would work for me.
What do you do for fun? Lift heavy things (editor’s note: Seth is a Cross Fit trainer), travel, hike, listen to music, watch movies, and volunteer. 

What's your favorite walk, bike ride, block, or view of the neighborhood? I walk a different route most Sunday afternoons and love most of them.

If you were Mayor of Irvington for a day, what would you do first? Step One: Set up a program that assists residents in navigating the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission (IHPC) standards and processes.  Step Two: Set up a grant funded program for financially assisting residents in making improvements to their properties.  

Why were you interested in being the IDO Volunteer Coordinator and what do you want to accomplish in that role?  Acquiring and nurturing volunteers can be very rewarding. There really is nothing like empowering another person to do good things.  In this role I hope to establish a sustainable long term model for volunteer acquisition and management for the Irvington Development Organization.

One of the many egg seekers at the Annual Benton House Easter Egg Hunt held on April 4.

Eggs, Laughs, and Squirrels
Yes, we know Easter was last month but our April Newsletter was already written when the Benton House Annual Easter Egg Hunt took place and we wanted to provide you with a synopsis on this fun event! The Easter Egg Hunt took place Saturday, April 4th with the sun shining and the lawn of the Benton House showing signs of spring. The grounds of the House were scattered with several hundred eggs filled with candies and toys, courtesy of the H&R Block Linwood Square branch. The hunt began at 10 a.m. with a  line of nearly 50 children patiently waiting with their baskets in hand. After receiving the "go" from the Easter Bunny, children scattered everywhere and began scooping up eggs. Within minutes all the eggs had been collected!

Jasmin Snyder and Elizabeth Wissel helped kids with coloring Easter themes. Adam Hampton and Megan Krol Schultz provided “security” for the Easter Bunny making sure he wasn't injured in the line of duty! Big thanks to Carter McCammon for hopping around during the event and Sue Barnett and Molly Morgan at H&R Block for their generous donation.

Thank you to all who joined us this year.

Discover Irvington: By Heidi Unger

Last weekend, the Discover Irvington festival (formerly known as Celebrate Irvington) brought Irvington residents and friends, business owners, and community organizations into the heart of Irvington to celebrate the neighborhood's unique character and positive growth.

The annual Irvington Business Association event is designed to help businesses and nonprofit organizations engage the community and offer information and entertainment. Festival organizer Allison Luthe said, "We accomplished our goal of bringing more attention to the great flavors, shops, and cultures that make up Irvington. The streets were filled with excitement, conversation, and creativity. Thank you to the visitors, community partners, volunteers, and businesses who made it all possible."

This year, in booths and shops along Audubon Road, Washington Street, and Johnson Avenue, nearly 50 businesses participated in the Discover Irvington marketplace, and 20 community organizations represented their causes. Luthe was pleased that "the event drew new businesses into the association and brought a broad array of media attention to the neighborhood, including Fox 59's Your Town Friday segment, broadcast live from Dufour's. "

Shoppers visited the bricks-and-mortar stores at the festival and shopped from Retulled's dress racks, chose from a selection of vintage and handmade items from Audrey's Place, and enjoyed sweet treats from Robbybaby's Kitchen. ARPO brought some adorable, adoptable dogs. Keep Indianapolis Beautiful promoted its popular Adopt-A-Block beautification program. Irvington Garden Club sold native plants, and Good to Grow displayed an aquaponics food production system. At the Alternative Gift Fair in the Irving Theater, artisans offered a broad array of handmade items, including jewelry, pottery, woodcraft, art glass, photographs and paintings, and soaps and lotions.

Music lovers enjoyed a very successful new addition to the event: the Irvington Acoustic Blues Festival, at Playground Productions. Throughout the day, six blues acts performed to a full house, and attendees snacked on complimentary chili and salsa from Chef Dan's and La Mexi-Gringa. Festival director JJ Stenzoski said, "We estimate attendance during the four-hour festival to be between 300 and 350 people of all ages." Performers included the popular Delta Duo, Gene Deer, and Jason Hathaway. The music was a great success and, along with Coal Yard Coffee and the Bonna Shops, helped expand Discover Irvington beyond the Washington Street corridor. At next year's festival, expect even more activity on Bonna Avenue, with the expansion of the Pennsy trail and addition of the Irvington Coal Factory development.

Go to for information about Irvington organizations and events scheduled throughout the year.
Local artist, Rita Spalding, posing by her painted traffic box. 


As most of you may have heard, the traffic box at the corner of Emerson and Washington was crunched by a hit and run driver on March 15. The city had to replace the box but the sympathetic workers on location agreed to return the damaged one to its creator, local artist Rita Spalding. Rita had so exquisitely adorned the humble metal box in homage to another local artist from a previous era, William Forsyth, whose Irvington’s home once stood across the street. The battered art piece is back with Rita, and she’s pondering how to best repurpose the panels. As for the now naked looking traffic box back on the corner, its future is also yet to be determined. It stands right at the gateway to our neighborhood and along the Pleasant Run Trail. What should it be?  
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