Gateway Neighborhood Needs Street Lights

IPS School Board members Leroy Robinson (left), Michael Brown (right), and Association President Tasha Coe

Photo by Linda Karn

(posted Apr 9)

Gateway West Neighborhood Association needs $4,000 to add ten street lights in the area. Association President Tasha Coe has declared the unlighted area unacceptable, especially with the March crime report of 48 incidents. She said there are 10 hot spots in the neighborhood that need lighting. Her number one concern is getting lights for Gateway West Park. She said Indy Parks is not responsible for lighting its own park, and she worries about the neighborhood residents being preyed upon by rapists and child molesters. She said the neighborhood has two ex-offenders convicted of rape, and one child molester.

She said IPL's five year contract charges $9.09 per month per light. The association is in the process of obtaining a 501(c)3 status, but without a tax exempt status, it makes fund raising difficult because donors can't claim tax deductions.

In the interim, the association invited Valentine Jideonwo of Omni Group Fundraising to the April 3 association meeting. Jideonwo said the program would create the association its own fund raising card that would have local merchants listed on the back, offering food and service discounts. The merchants do not pay to be listed on the card. The listing is free advertising for the merchant.

The association members would receive training about sales techniques to maximize their potential when selling the cards. Jideonwo offered to let the association retain 70 percent of the $10 card instead of the normal 50-50 split between Omni and the organization. He also said he would connect the association to the American Association of Grant Professionals to help them find grant dollars.

Indianapolis Public School School Board member Leroy Robinson resides within the association's boundaries. He said that IPS is working to increase the graduation rate by offering alternative programs that attempt to retain students by offering career oriented programs. He said the goal is to encourage kids to focus on a career interest by middle school. He also announced his candidacy for the at-large IPS school board seat. Robinson filled the seat when Olgen Williams resigned to serve as deputy mayor.

"We are all born with an interest and we need to start fine tuning it by middle school." Robinson said that mentor programs are available so that students have a chance to shadow professionals outside of school.

Association Vice President Al Earl attested to the fact that mentoring does work. He said he volunteered to mentor with second, third and fourth graders with reading. He said by fifth grade the schools are starting to lose kids because they do not have an interest. He encouraged members to volunteer to mentor. He called it a great reward to reach out to help even if it is just one child.

Earl also donated $100 to the association to help with the 2009 Easter Egg Hunt. He said that Coe used her own money to serve the neighborhood kids. The association approved that ten percent of all income would be dedicated to funding the Easter Egg Hunt to prevent association members from using their personal dollars.

GNA and Eagledale Lafayette Square Area Weed and Seed are organizing a parade on August 16, starting and ending at school 109. The purpose of the parade is to educate the community about Weed and Seed and to help ELSA and GNA raise money for crime prevention. For more parade information contact Linda Karn 730-0851.