RCA plant being demolished on Indy’s east side

The first step in rebuilding the east side started Monday morning with the demolition of the former RCA plant. (WISH photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The first step in rebuilding the east side started Monday morning with the demolition of the former RCA plant.

That plant has stood vacant since 1995.

It’s in the 3300 block of East Michigan Street.

Neighbors say the vacant building has brought crime and blight to the neighborhood.

“I’m so happy, thankful, thrilled, jumping for joy. I want to hug people. This is a blessing,” said Chris Staab, who has lived nearby for 26 years.

He remembers when RCA left 22 years ago, taking with them, 8,000 jobs, and leaving the 53 acre site in disrepair.

“Illegal dumping, the homeless, there’s always the chance that somebody’s going to come back here exploring and get injured and we won’t be able to find them,” said Staab.

With the demolition comes the possibility for a new beginning for the neighborhood, now known as Sherman Park.

“It’s going to be a great opportunity to bring back this neighborhood that for the last 20 years has just stood empty,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett.

“This is the first step. Getting rid of what was here before, tearing down this kind of symbol of crime and of decay and replace it with a plan and an opportunity,” said Blake Johnson, who represents the area on the City-County Council.

The city was given a $200,000 grant from the EPA to begin drafting a rebuilding plan.

One possibility is the new criminal justice center.

Staab supports that plan, but would also like outdoor space.

“Look to make this somewhat of a recreational area. Green space of some kind, possibly a soccer field,” said Staab. “At this point, first thing that has to happen is this building has to come down.”

The mayor’s task force will announce later this month where the new criminal justice center will go. As for the demolition, it’s expected to last for six weeks and cost nearly $700,000.