Good neighborhoods in Indy for a family with young kids (Indianapolis: house, school district)
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there are either some broad ripple or MK residences that go to Washington Twp.
No, there are not. IPS serves the "old" Indianapolis city limits, and has everything on the south side of the White River in this area, which includes all of Broad Ripple, All of Meridian-Kessler, and all of Butler-Tarkington. Here's a map: Indianapolis Public Schools (http://ipsgis.ips.k12.in.us/ipsgis/default.aspx - broken link)
There is a small area east of Broad Ripple Park that goes to Wash. Twp. schools, but these homes aren't really in Broad Ripple and certainly aren't the kind of "charming old homes with character" the OP was talking about.
There is a small subdivision worth looking at west of College, south of 71st street to the White River. It's kind of a hike, but this is within walking distance of Broad Ripple. The houses generally are post-war and newer, but there are some fairly nice homes there. There are plenty of areas of Washington Township that go to Washington Township schools, but you may as well be in Carmel - you're not going to be within walking distance of anything, and the homes are pretty generic. I agree that Zionsville has a good mix of old, charming homes and great schools.
As for "how rough is rough"? Not terribly, but there are areas within a couple block of Woodruff Place that are pretty awful, and Fountain Square is close to pretty poor, crime-ridden areas. I don't mean to be too negative, but just because there might be a good charter school or magnet program within a district there's no assurance you will get in, you have to understand there is literally a lottery for people who want to go to the Center for Inquiry and similar programs. Broad Ripple High School may have a good magnet program, but overall the school ranks 357th of 385 Indiana High Schools, and 73% of its students are poor enough to qualify for a free or discounted lunch. It's not "diverse" - it's overwhelmingly black (82%), it barely graduates half of its students (59%), and just 1 in 3 students pass the ISTEP (which is geared to ninth-grade reading and math level). Unless you're Catholic and want to send your kids to parochial schools you're going to be spending 20k to 40k per year from grade school on up. The difference between living in Indianapolis and Carmel is not that big of a deal. Indy does not have a "city" feel outside of a small area close to downtown.
Last edited by Naptowner; 01-24-2010 at 12:06 PM..
Most people here are vociferous cheerleaders for the suburbs. I'm trying to help someone who is actually leaning toward living in the city, which has many worthwhile qualities and is far more critical to the economic health of the region. Every city has good suburbs, but sustainable cities have both good 'burbs and good urban neighborhoods.
Naptowner raises good points, but the qualities of Broad Ripple High School are pretty much characteristic of any diverse, urban magnet school. The fact remains that the "magnet" quotient of the student body does very well and are still in an urban environment of mutiple social classes (instead of all upper class like Carmel) and those who do graduate on the college track do very very well. It depends more on the school environment that you are willing to send your kids--but the programs in the magnet schools are excellent. If the magnet/charter schools were such a lousy experience, they wouldn't have long waiting lists or lotteries to get in.
As for "rough"--well, it looks like I overused the word. The east side of town (where Woodruff Place and Irvington are) generally has the worst reputation for crime, but that's not to say there aren't desirable areas. Those two neighborhoods mentioned before have remained desirable despite the fact that most everything in between them is the heart of the high-crime area. I'm sure you could find residents in either neighborhood and they could give you a firsthand impression of whether or not crime is a concern. The other not-so-rough neighborhoods on the east side include Emerson Heights, Holy Cross, Cottage Home, Community Heights, and Little Flower. These are all in close proximity to the "rough" areas (less than six blocks) but are generally stable if not gentrifying neighborhoods themselves. Neighborhoods to avoid on the east side: Tuxedo Park, Arsenal Heights, anything around Rural Avenue.
Irvington is still probably the best bet. It's the most established, has the most attractive architecture and is a very large neighborhood, giving it more of a buffer from the high crime neighborhoods to its west.
My impression is that the near northside used to be the worst part of town, but so much revitalization has taken place in recent years that you don't hear so much about crime there any more. I'm sure there are still some issues, but it's been years since a major crime (assault or homicide) has taken place in areas like Near Northside, Herron Morton Place, Fall Creek Place, Butler Tarkington, or Meridian Kessler. The one near northside neighborhood that is still somewhat shady is Mapleton Fall Creek, but it's improving as well. 38th Street Corridor is the worst aspect of the northside.
Did not say the CC was in M-K. I simply said they live near there. Kids west of Illinois on Kessler Blvd attend Washington Township Schools too.
Not sure about now, but at one time kids in Rocky Ripple went to Washington Township Schools. I know because I have relatives and friends who lived there.
According to the IPS website, everything east of the river is IPS.
See Naptowner's above explanation on that.
I just think saying someone by the country club is in the "area of Meridian Kessler" and attends Washington Township schools is misleading, like the realtors who say 46th and Keystone is "in the area" of Broad Ripple.
Chalcedony: We're all trying to help the poster. Don't act like you're the only one. As you said in your first post, IPS is "generally bad," and one of the OP's concerns are horrible schools OR a horrible neighborhood. While it's true that most of the areas you mentioned are pretty nice, it's also true that every single one of them is in the IPS district, which is awful. Although some schools have good programs, there is no guarantee the OP's kids can qualify, nor is there any guarantee they can transfer the kids to Washington Township schools.
Some chimed in with misinformation- claiming that there are areas of MK that are in the WT school district. That's simply not true. Now, while it may be possible to find a nice home in the Washington Township district, most of these homes are either hellaciously expensive (like the Crow's Nest or Meridian Hills areas) or they were built in the 50s and 60s and don't have the same character as the much older homes in M-K, Forest Hills, and B-T. I pointed out a little pocket south of 71st street that has a few older homes, but this is not a cheap area and the homes are almost all post-WWII.
And again, Broad Ripple HS is not "diverse." It's overwhelmingly black, overwhelmingly poor, and overwhelmingly low-achieving. I don't have any problem with black people, but that's not the point - it's that its student population doesn't represent the population at large. Carmel's comes a little closer, being 83% white and an astonishing 9% asian. And the point is not whether Broad Ripple fits the character of a typical urban school - it's whether it's any good. You may wish to subject your kids to a social experiment, or be willing to cross your fingers and hope you get into the school you want, but I'd rather send mine to a school where most kids are going to college, not struggling to read at a 9th grade level by graduation.
As for the neighborhoods - Woodruff Place is a nice pocket in a horrible neighborhood. Irvington is a little bigger pocket, and the area around it isn't quite as bad, but the same thing. And yes, just two years ago there was an armed assault of a state representative at my local CVS at 56th and Illinois, and vehicle breakins, purse snatchings, and armed robberies happen in the area from time to time. I'm not dogging Indy. I own a home in BT and I like it. But don't villify people for pointing out the truth.
I grew up in Indianapolis. Broad Ripple is great if you want to send your kids to private schools BUT there is a heavy bar scene there and we didn't like the drunks hovering around our home at night (yes, it happens).
Washington Township doesn't have enough real estate or lots ready to be used for building. This means that there is heavy demand for homes in Washington Township when the economy is good. Carmel homes are expensive but Carmel is not yet overbuilt.
People love Washington Township so much that they actually buy old homes and tear them down just to stay in the township. They COULD buy a new home in Carmel for less.
Question is: will the schools maintain their reputation? Having had 3 kids go through the schools, I see a change.
What about Lawrence Township? Is it any better then IPS?
Yes, Lawrence Township schools are better than IPS. You might want to check out this website for data on Indiana schools. IDOE: Indiana K-12 Education Data (http://www.doe.in.gov/data/ - broken link)
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