Better Block Project hopes to bring life to vacant buildings

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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Pop-up shops lined streets and sidewalks near Garfield Park Saturday, but this was more than just a block party.

More than 30 vendors lined Shelby Street and Southern Avenue.

It’s called the Better Block Project — something organizers say began in Dallas, Texas to show what older, vacant business districts can look like every day if they’re revitalized.

“Our goal is to have people look at these vacant spaces and say ‘Huh, I could put that kind of shop there,” said Donna Jacobsen, an event organizer.

Representatives for both the city and the state even declared special proclamations for today’s event.

They did so in front of the newly-renovated Garfield Park Eatery and Coffee Shop – a well-known restaurant that will soon re-open under new ownership.

“Our neighborhoods have been clamoring for local business,” said Jacobsen. “Like any neighborhood, we’re looking for walkability and bikability.” provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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