ILADD PROPOSES LOCAL INDEPENDENT LIVING OPPORTUNITIES MONTHLY JUNE 2023 COLLECTIVE PUBLISHING PUBLICATION zionsvillemonthlymagazine.com
17 COVER STORY
ILADD PROPOSES LOCAL INDEPENDENT LIVING OPPORTUNITIES
This month, Zionsville Monthly is pleased to feature Zionsville resident and Independent Living for Adults with Developmental/Intellectual Disabilities [ILADD] Board of Directors President Thomas “Tom” Easterday and Vice President John Sima. Easterday, his wife, Deb, along with Sima and his wife Jill, are the four co-founders of ILADD. Easterday sat down with our publication to explain what the proposed Crossbridge Point community within the future Wild Air development is and how it will provide housing opportunities to adults with and without intellectual and/ or developmental disabilities [IDD].
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6 Building Tomorrow, Dreamers Look To Change the World One School at a Time 10 Feinstein’s at Hotel Carmichael Presents Wayne Powers 12 Gator Motorsport Takes the Lead on the Lotus EV Track 14 Carmel Jazz Fest Presents: Freddie Fox 20 Wild Air Development Poised To Embrace Legacy & Community
Writer // Janelle Morrison • Cover photo // Laura Arick
Change the World One School at a Time
There are people whom I interview that make me more optimistic for the future of humanity upon speaking with them. In this particular instance, I spoke with 10 inspiring young people, all from the Zionsville community, who, along with the support of family and friends, have accomplished an impressive feat — they raised just over $60,000 and traveled to Uganda, along with the Building Tomorrow organization, to build a school for children in central Uganda where schools do not exist.
HARNESSING THE POWER OF EDUCATION AND COMPASSION
The African nation of Uganda has many significant challenges in its education system. An estimated 1.2 million Ugandan children are not in school, only 6 percent of the country’s fourth graders can read a paragraph, and sadly, only 2 percent can perform basic math functions.
Building Tomorrow is a community-powered organization that harnesses
the potential of local change-makers to connect learners across rural Uganda with transformational education programs.
Zionsville resident Connor Kacena-Merrell is a high school student with a big heart and had some even bigger ideas on how to make an impact on children he had yet to meet and who live on the other side of the globe. Kacena-Merrell and his group of friends shared with me why they had each felt compelled to fundraise and, for the ones who made the 21-hour flight
to Uganda and volunteered from June 24 to July 9, why they had wanted to physically put forth the effort to help build a primary school along with the Building Tomorrow volunteers.
“I reached out to the CEO of Building Tomorrow, an Indianapolis-based nonprofit dedicated to supporting education for kids in Uganda,” Kacena-Merrell shared. “I organized 12 of my friends, and together we formed a group called [Jr.] Building Tomorrow Dreamers. We started raising money with the hope of making a meaningful impact. We exceeded our own goals, and now we’re trying to spread the word about our success so that other teens may be inspired to help as well.”
Kacena-Merrell also shared that in October 2020, the Jr. Building Tomorrow Dreamers set a goal of raising $50,000 to help construct a new school and to support a teaching fellow who trains community members to become teachers. The group of teens [ages 13-18] who made this all possible is composed of 13 friends from around Central Indiana who attend either Park Tudor School, Zionsville Community Schools or Carmel Clay Schools.
“We all know each other from soccer, family friends and different activities,” Kacena-Merrell said. “We grouped together in October of 2020 and met together in my backyard. We discussed logistics and how we would fundraise to achieve our goals and plans for building a school. When I heard the statistics, I was absolutely shocked. I’m a big believer in education and its power to give opportunities and transform lives. I wanted to help the kids [in Uganda] that are less fortunate.”
Kacena-Merrell explained that the kids set a more obtainable objective for each to raise $2,500 over the last couple of years and were creative in how they achieved their goals. From group fundraising,
6 ZIONSVILLE MONTHLY JUNE 2023
Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Building Tomorrow and submitted
planting pumpkins at a farm, making and selling hand sanitizer [during COVID], nannying, mowing, hosting a car wash and even asking for donations in place of holiday gifts, these determined young people not only met their goal of $50,000 but exceeded it!
ARRON AND ALEK HABECKER, ZIONSVILLE
Arron: I really love the thought of being with friends and family, working towards a goal. It’s really hard to do it on your own. I loved when Connor first introduced us to this and not only for the goal that we’re going toward but to help the undereducated in Uganda.
Alek: I realized this was something we could tangibly do to help people on the other side of the world that are much less fortunate than us. With the privilege that we have — we’re really in a position and are obligated to do something with it. We have to balance it out between where we are and where other people are. And we need to make that gap a little bit smaller.
WILLIAM AND EVELYN WEBER, ZIONSVILLE
William: I thought it would be a really cool opportunity to help those that needed some help while doing it with people that I know.
Evelyn: I think this is something that is a deeply rooted passion of mine. I think we see education inequality across the world. Because Building Tomorrow already had a foundation, it felt like I could really make a change because there
are already supports in place to make this process more feasible.
I think it’s really cool to be able to help people in Uganda from where I’m at. It’s one thing to help by yourself, but to be able to do it with friends is even cooler to me. And being able to go there and do it ourselves to make an impact really stood out to me. To see it firsthand, what it’s really like in Uganda, that’s really what I want to get out of [the trip].
SARAH AND SIMON NGO, ZIONSVILLE
Simon: Raising over $50,000 isn’t something you can do with just your family, so it was a good idea to get a bunch of people together to raise the money. And it was a good thing because it was during COVID, and it was kind of a way that we could get a bunch of people together and socialize and help people at the same time during the quarantine.
Sarah: Education has always been something that’s important to me. I think in a community like this, it’s definitely something that everyone takes for granted here. People are always like, “Oh, I hate school. It’s so much work!” But in other places, people are jumping to be able to have those kinds of opportunities. To make an impact for generations to come as opposed to making an impact for just today is why I think education is something that we can really do to impact a community for a long time and is where everything starts.
KATHRYN AND ETHAN SIMMONS, ZIONSVILLE
Kathryn: I wasn’t part of the original group, but my brother was doing it and I thought it would be a fun way to do a good thing for underprivileged people. I made [and sold] sugar scrubs during Christmastime and cookies [for the fundraiser].
Ethan: It’s a good cause, and when Connor gave me some of the statistics, that really sunk in — what we have here and what they don’t. I thought it would be a good opportunity to help those in need.
Now, as Kacena-Merrell explained to me, this exceptional group of young people has raised enough for the current primary school build project [$50,000] and has $15,000 that could launch a second campaign for a second school build if these ambitious humanitarians can garner the support of their community once again!
If you’d like to learn more about Building Tomorrow, you can visit their website at buildingtomorrow.org.
You can also follow Kacena-Merrell and his friends’ journey to Uganda on Instagram @jrbldgtomorrow_indy.
Should you feel the same calling to assist Building Tomorrow that these young people did, please donate to: https://secure.givelively.org/donate/building-tomorrow-inc/junior-bt-dreamers
Building Tomorrow is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Your donation may be tax deductible with the exception of the value of goods and services received.
7 ZIONSVILLE MONTHLY JUNE 2023
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Frank Sinatra: The Tribute | Don Farrell & Terry Woods Jazz Quartet Celebrate Sinatra's Life
An Evening With Samantha Pauly | Originated role of Katherine Howard in SIX the Musical Jazz Brunch: Blair Clark Birthday Brunch Featuring Cathy Morris
Enchante | Burlesque
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Drag Me To Brunch | 11:00 a.m. & 2:00 p.m. Show
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The Piano Man: A Billy Joel Tribute | Highlighting The Hits Of The Piano Man
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CARMEL JAZZ FEST Featured Stage: Harry Allen w/ Rossano Sportiello
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FEINSTEIN’S AT HOTEL CARMICHAEL PRESENTS
Jazz vocalist/actor/comedian/broadcaster Wayne Powers started as a nightclub singer in New York at age 16. He performed across the country, finally landing in Hollywood, where he worked for Henry Mancini. Powers launched his decades-long network television career after being discovered in a live improv comedy show with the then-unknown Robin Williams. Williams went on to “Mork & Mindy” and movies, while Powers went on to “Laverne & Shirley,” “Elvis and Me,” “One Day at a Time,” “Murder She Wrote,” “Simon & Simon,” “Full House,” “Alf,” “Doogie Howser,” and many others, including starring for two seasons in his own popular NBC sitcom, “13 East.”
Equally at home on television or the radio, in a theatre or club, or on a concert stage, music is his first love. Powers has played top jazz rooms and jazz festivals, consistently drawing large, enthusiastic, star-studded crowds.
Powers’ current concert performances, whether backed by a jazz quartet or a swingin’ big band, are centered in the Great American Songbook of jazz standards, swing tunes and saloon songs — and audiences are quite simply loving it. Several songs from Powers’ most recent album, “If Love Were All,” are currently featured on Sirius XM’s “Siriusly Sinatra” Channel.
Powers has known Michael Feinstein since 1977, when they performed together on stage in Hollywood. Don’t miss out on this extraordinary evening with Wayne Powers! Purchase your tickets at feinsteinshc.com.
Janelle Morrison: It’s an honor for us to have you perform at Feinstein’s at Hotel Carmichael!
Wayne Powers: I’m really looking forward to it! It’s a great venue and perfect for what I do and for sharing what I do with an audience.
JM: I feel like a second “jazz” renaissance is happening now. What is happening in our world and nation now is reminiscent of the 1920s through the 1940s. And I feel like there’s been a resurgence in the jazz genre and it’s making an impact similar to what it did for people in the Jazz Age. It was a time of social revolution and transformative change, during which this type of improvisational music and style of music was born.
WP: That’s exactly what’s happening, and that’s why I do what I do — to share this incredible genre of music that is very broad. Jazz is a large category of music that encompasses a lot of different cultures and is an amalgamation of all the influences of uniquely American music.
Jazz is very warm, even when it’s cool, and it’s very human. I think our culture has become less human and more digital, and what is happening [now] is a response to that. People are craving something that has heart and soul to it.
JM: Which came first: your passion for music or for acting? Or was it a passion for entertainment in general?
WP: I’ve always approached my acting as music and music as acting. As an actor, there is a rhythm, cadence and melody to
speech. As a vocalist, I can’t just sing any song. I have to sing a song that I can get behind the lyrics on because I’m a storyteller. In my latest album, “If Love Were All,” there’s life and blood pulsing through every tune, and there’s passion in every lyric. It’s purposeful, and that’s what I do — I share the emotion, which comes through the music and in the lyrics.
I was an only child growing up. Like Robin Williams, who also grew up as an only child, I think we crave communication and connection with people as an only child. One way that I was always able to connect with people was to entertain them. My father was my idol growing up. He died in my arms in 1976. He was only 52 when he passed. He taught me a sense of humor, and he was always telling these terrible corny jokes, but he always made people laugh and he loved to sing. He had a beautiful voice … a great voice. On Sundays, he would play two singers, and he would sing along with them while he was doing whatever around the house. The two singers that he played all the time were Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole. Being reflective, that was a huge influence on me.
Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Submitted
JM: Is it true that you first met Michael Feinstein back in LA while working with the same improv comedy troupe that Robin Williams was also discovered in? WP: That is true. I moved to Los Angeles in 1976 and was working for Henry Mancini. But that’s not why I went to LA. I went to LA to perform and wound up falling into a job with Henry [Mancini], administering all of his music publishing. He gave me his old office on the corner of Sunset and Vine overlooking Wallichs Music City and the Hollywood sing. It was becoming a career, and I said, “Wait a minute, this is not why I came here. I came here to get into sitcoms and to perform my music.”
So, I got into this eight-member improv comedy group called “Off the Wall,” and we performed in a ballet studio on the second floor of this little building on Fairfax Avenue in Hollywood. We would hang curtains over the mirrors and dance bars and put up a little platform stage and folding chairs in this little studio and then sell tickets for five bucks. Robin Williams was a member of the group, and John Ritter and Betty Thomas [Hill Street Blues] would guest
[perform] with us. In the audience would be Norman Lear and Garry Marshall, and that’s how we all got discovered. Robin got “Mork & Mindy,” and I got “Laverne & Shirley.” It was a dynamic time and place.
There would be a musical interlude between the acts, and we had a piano player. And when we couldn’t get our regular [piano] player, we got Michael [Feinstein]. Michael was doing in California what Bobby Short was an icon for doing at Café Carlyle in New York City.
JM: Michael Feinstein is an extraordinary steward of the Great American Songbook, and his preservation efforts extend beyond these musical standards. Venues like Feinstein’s at Hotel Carmichael and the cabaret supper club concept would likely be extinct if it weren’t for his vision of a modern-day supper club venue and the efforts of the talent, such as yourself, performing at these venues that are drawing a wide demographic of ages and backgrounds.
WP: Michael had all of that passion and knowledge of the Great American
Songbook all those years ago. He was a visionary then, and he’s a visionary now in recreating the cabaret supper club environment, which was almost completely gone. And that’s the environment that I grew up in. He’s created a home where I feel at home, and that is Feinstein’s.
JM: What can your audience expect to see and hear when you come to perform in Carmel, Indiana?
WP: When I come to Carmel, I’m going to bring some of the greatest music ever written, in my opinion. I’ve got three great musicians from the Indianapolis area — a great trio. I will make you laugh a few times; I’ll bring some left turns … it’s not just going to be a string of songs. I call it my swing tunes and saloon song show. It celebrates both ends. If you’re sitting still [in your seat], you better take the cotton out of your ears! We’re going to give you an experience, and we’re going to share some of the joys and passions in my heart with you — musically. We’re going to have an evening together, and I really look forward to it.
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Lotus EV Track
Artomobilia announced that Gator Motorsport will be the title sponsor for VELOCE — the all-new hangar party that will be in conjunction with this year’s Artomobilia Weekend and will host more than 500 guests and showcase 50 collector hypercars and supercars, private aircraft, exceptional motorcycles and more at the exclusive First Wing Jet Center.
Kim has significantly expanded his facilities, located near Carmel and Zionsville along West 96th Street and Michigan Road, in preparation for Lotus’ current and future EV lineup that will include a sports car, a coupe-sedan and two SUVs, following the Evija EV hypercar.
Lotus has confirmed that its future is electric and that the 2022 Emira is the company’s last new model to have a combustion engine. Lotus has been releasing more details about the rapid development of the four fully electric models, which is why Kim and his team went into overdrive to meet Lotus’ newest dealership requirements. Additionally, in true entrepreneurship form, Kim decided to get ahead of the curve and rebuild his facility to meet Lotus’ new digital retail platform in advance of the five-year strategic plan.
“By building out that 10,000-square-foot showroom, it enables us to hold more people, hold more cars, have more office space, and with that, we’ll still have our pre-owned inventory of specialty cars,” Kim said.
Lotus unveiled details of a new corporate identity [CI] for its franchised car retailers alongside details of its new product roadmap as part of a “Driving Tomorrow” virtual conference.
that will be in conjunction with this year’s Artomobilia Weekend and will host more than 500 guests and showcase 50 collector hypercars and supercars, private aircraft, exceptional motorcycles and more at the exclusive First Wing Jet Center.
Additionally, the Gator Motorsport team will present the annual LOTUS-PALOOZA at Artomobilia at its brand-new location in Carmel’s Midtown.
BUILDING FOR TOMORROW
We first sat down with Young Kim, dealer principal at Gator Motorsport/ Indy Lotus two years ago when Gator Motorsport pulled an automotive miracle
by adding Carmel to the handful of U.S. locations where the Lotus Evija made a showstopping debut at Artomobilia. The Lotus Evija is the world’s first all-electric hypercar, and Gator Motorsport was the first Lotus dealership to have the Evija at an event in the U.S.
Gator Motorsport is Indiana’s only authorized Lotus Sales and Service Center and the only Sales and Service Center for Zenos Cars in the U.S. Additionally, an exciting array of preowned vehicles are offered, from daily drivers to Super Cars. Gator Motorsport upholds the standard that every detail matters in all aspects of sales, service and detail from your race car to your daily driver. It’s looking to be another stellar year for Kim and his team as they anticipate the grand re-opening of their dealership.
“In the U.S. and globally, Lotus is streamlining all of the processes, where in the past there really wasn’t a standard per se on how every dealership should look and feel,” Kim stated. “Now [Lotus] has higher CI and SI package requirements for the interior look and feel and signage requirements. So, we went ahead and did the five-year plan renovations now.”
Upon completion of the renovations, Kim’s dealership will be among the most state-of-the-art Lotus dealerships in the U.S. As Lotus evolves and presents its “Lifestyle” lineup, Kim spoke about this particular marque’s transformation and how it is embracing the EV world and evolving to better meet the needs of its customers.
“If you look at the history of Lotus, it has always been a boutique dealership, not a lifestyle car,” Kim explained. “Well, now, they’re becoming a ‘lifestyle’ car.”
LOTUS-PALOOZA, presented in the exceptional Midtown along Monon Boule-
Writer // Janelle Morrison
• Photography // Laura Arick and Gator Motorsport
vard, is all about simplicity and lightness … and Colin Chapman’s iconic philosophy that continues to redefine the standard for performance on and off the track.
Artomobilia Event Director John Leonard first brought Kim into the fold back in 2008 when he was seeking out area car collectors for the first-ever Artomobilia event. The partnership has evolved over the decade-plus, and Leonard credits Kim for contributing to the exponential growth of the event and its satellite events that make up Artomobilia Weekend.
Leonard spoke about Kim’s ongoing commitment to Artomobilia as a supporter and sponsor.
“I think it’s representative of Young [Kim], specifically, and Gator Motorsport, generally, that Young as an individual collector was at the very beginning of Artomobilia and has been a part of every new thing that we have done — whether that was Fuelicious, the road rallies, you name it. And our first foray into Midtown … Gator Motorsport and Young are part of it as well. It demonstrates their commit-
ment to the automotive community and to expanding and helping us continue to offer more variety and interest in more areas throughout Carmel. This has been a continuing theme over the last 16 years.”
As title sponsor of Artomobilia’s newest event, Gator Motorsport is excited to share some details about the event and what attendees can anticipate seeing from Lotus at the hangar party.
“We will be celebrating automotive history and innovative design,” Kim expressed. “We will showcase a series of Lotus cars that go back to the Esprit, and we’re going to bring in the entire EV lineup, including the Emira, Eletre, and to be confirmed … we are trying to bring the Evija back to Carmel! We handpicked some of the collectors we know to bring some of the [Lotus] classic cars going way back into the past, so it might be one of the few opportunities in the country where you can legitimately see the progression of all the cars from yesteryears to the present
and future models.”
Leonard added, “It will be a fun and festive experience. We’ll have 50 cars or so, all high performance, and obviously, Lotus will have quite a number of those in the Lotus Pavilion area adjacent to the main hangar. It will be small plates, fast drinks, great food and a lot of fun.”
Artomobilia: A Celebration of Automotive Art & Design will be hosted on the streets of the Carmel Arts & Design District and for the first time will be expanding into Midtown. Please note, Artomobilia will take place on its new date, Saturday, September 9 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.”
For more information on Gator Motorsport, visit GatorMotorsport.com. And for a complete listing of Artomobilia Weekend 2023 events, visit artomobilia.org.
VELOCE | Sep 08
Hosted in the FIRST WING JET CENTER Welcome to VELOCE on Friday, September 8th @ 7 p.m.
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Carmel Jazz Fest Presents:
Contemporary jazz and R&B artist Freddie Fox is recognized worldwide for his own solo recordings (featuring multiple Top 20 hits, including the #1 single “Too Tuff”), as well as his work with many legendary contemporary jazz and R&B artists. That’s his rhythm guitar you hear on the GRAMMY-winning album “Givin’ It Up” by George Benson and Al Jarreau. Fox played on the tracks “Mornin’” and “Ordinary People.”
Born in Tullahoma, Tennessee, and educated at the prestigious Berklee College Of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, Fox is known for his endless versatility and his smooth, soulful tone. Fox incorporates multiple styles into his music, including funk, smooth jazz, jazz fusion, R&B, and rock. He’s been a featured touring member with notable acts such as Chaka Khan, Najee, Atlantic Starr, Eric Benet, Rose Royce, Jennifer Holliday and the incomparable vocalist Evelyn “Champagne” King, to whom he has been married for 32 years.
Fox has also contributed work to TV shows including “The Arsenio Hall Show,” “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,”
Jerry Lewis’ “MDA Labor Day Telethon,” Sinbad’s “70’s Soul Music Festival Summer Jam” Part III (HBO), the “Vibe” show, the “Motown Live” show, “Soul Train,” “The Later Show,” “The Queen Latifa Show,” “Live at the Apollo,” “BET Jazz,” “NAACP Image Award” and “The Pat Sajak Show.” Don’t miss out on Freddie Fox’s set and grab your Carmel Jazz Fest tickets at carmeljazzfest.org!
I had the sincere pleasure of speaking with Carmel Jazz Fest Director Blair Clark, Freddie Fox, and Evelyn “Champagne” King. I’ve included some fun snippets from that virtual visit below. Stay tuned for the full video interview — to be released on Facebook and Instagram soon!
SATURDAY, AUGUST 12TH, 2023: CARTER GREEN STAGE: 5 PM – 6:30 PM: Freddie Fox
Janelle Morrison: I remember Blair and I discussing the idea that he had about bringing a jazz festival to Carmel, Indiana, more than a decade ago. And here we are; it’s 2023, and it’s happening. Pun intended, people are getting “jazzed” about it, and it’s going to be more than an event that’s entertaining people — it’s going to be awakening some people. Let’s talk about your friendship with Blair and the reason why you’re supporting this inaugural jazz festival.
Freddie Fox: Blair had a couple of tunes that were sitting down, waiting to be changed and worked on, so we got together, and magic happened. That’s what music is about — taking two ideas and making them something that people will enjoy. And I enjoyed it.
Blair Clark: I asked him if he could help me put some things together, and when the song came back, I was like, “Wow, this is fresh and new!” It had a whole different breath to it. One of the things that I love about Freddie and working with him is that he gives me a lot of grace. As a songwriter, I’ve learned a lot from Preston [Glass], and as a producer or co-producer, I’ve learned a lot from Freddie. He is a phenomenal artist and technician, and he has always been patient with me on the technical side and with tempos. One thing he would always do was send me these little cartoons to keep me laughing and to keep me light. I couldn’t imagine doing something like the Carmel Jazz Fest without Freddie and Evelyn being a part of it.
Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Courtesy of CJF
JM: Freddie, you studied music at Berklee College of Music before embarking on your professional journey. What was it like coming from the South to Boston to launch a career as a musician at that time?
FF: It’s been a long road for me. I was shopping and trying to get a record deal like everybody else. Finally, I realized that you can do it yourself. So, I went and incorporated my own company and was doing sessions in homes with musicians and friends from college. If you have good relationships with your friends, sometimes it comes back, and you’re like, “Hey, I remember you.” And some of those guys have “made it” in the business, so you’ve got to keep those relationships, communicate and learn from each other. You have to communicate to make something happen, and that’s what we’ve done. That’s what I’m doing. And that’s what we’re doing, Blair — we’re learning from each other.
BC: When your stuff reaches out from California to my living room and I’m
walking around the house, vacuuming the floor, and all of a sudden, I hear “Too Tuff” and I look up and see Freddie with his guitar, I think, “Man, I’ve worked with that guy!”
JM: To that end, we’ve got to let people, especially young people, know that they can be the next Freddie Fox or Evelyn “Champagne” King. Anything is possible, but it starts with your passion, and that is what will drive you to where you want to go.
FF: We’re taking the first step by letting them see and hear it. That’s what helped me. I had a neighbor that was a musician, and I wanted to be a great musician like him, and he told me, “Freddie, go to college first and get your education. Learn music as well, and it will last even longer, and you’ll be even better when you’re in line with the rest of them.” So that’s what helped me — staying in school, studying and having the heart to talk to other musicians and learn from each other.
FRI. AUG 11TH & SAT. AUG 12TH, 2023
EVELYN CHAMPAGNE KING
JOSH KAUFMAN | JENNIE DEVOE
THE BOTTOM 40 BAND | FREDDIE FOX
30 JAZZ, BLUES + R&B ACTS | 8 STAGES
ART MARKET | FOOD VENDORS | BEER & WINE
THE DAVE BENNETT QUARTET | BRENDA WILLIAMS
PREMIUM BLEND | TAD ROBINSON BAND
BLAIR CLARK | PAVEL & DIRECT CONTACT
DYSFUNKTION BRASS | TOMMY BALDWIN
STEVE ALLEE BIG BAND | TIM CUNNINGHAM
BOTH SIDES OF JONI PROJECT FT. ALEXIS COLE
HURRICANE & THE
JOE FILIPOW | SUE WICKLIFF | THE DANNY LERMAN BAND SARAH SCHARBROUGH & BETHANY ROBINSON
GANG | UNIVERSITY JAZZ BANDS
THE PALLADIUM | CARTER GREEN | CARMEL GAZEBO
THE STUDIO THEATER |THE TARKINGTON | POP-UP SHOWS
FEINSTEIN'S AT HOTEL CARMICHAEL | JAZZ ON THE MONON
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INDIANAPOLIS AT Banyan Brands, LLC
This month, Zionsville Monthly is pleased to feature Zionsville resident and Independent Living for Adults with Developmental/Intellectual Disabilities [ILADD] Board of Directors President Thomas “Tom” Easterday and Vice President John Sima. Easterday, his wife, Deb, along with Sima and his
Easterday sat down with our publication to explain what the proposed Crossbridge Point community within the future Wild Air development is and how it will provide housing opportunities to adults with and without intellectual and/ or developmental disabilities [IDD].
A DEDICATED COMMUNITY LEADER AND VOLUNTEER
Easterday and his wife Deb are parents of an adult son with Fragile X Syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects development and can contribute to learning disabilities and cognitive
impairment. Easterday is retired from Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc., where he served as senior executive vice president, secretary and chief legal officer. In addition to ILADD, Easterday serves various foundations and organizations and is a member of the Indiana Disability Rights Commission. Easterday previously served as the president of the Zionsville Town Council, Central Indiana Chapter of the March of Dimes, Community Foundation of Boone County and Crossroads of America Council of the Boy Scouts of America; and he is a past chairman of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.
Easterday has received several awards, including Special Olympics of Boone County Volunteer of the Year, Area Eight Special Olympics of Indiana Coach of the Year, Champion of Diversity, Sagamore of the Wabash and Indiana Business Leader of the Year.
WHAT IS ILADD?
ILADD, Inc. [Independent Living for Adults with Developmental/Intellectual Disabilities] is a Zionsville-based 501(c) (3) nonprofit corporation founded in October 2019 with a mission to provide housing, enrichment/educational programs and social options that enable
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wife Jill, are the four co-founders of ILADD.
adults with IDD to live in homes of their own and enjoy fulfilling and meaningful lives in their communities.
Crossbridge Point, an ILADD, Inc. development, will be an affordable, walkable residential community that embodies home, choice and security for adults with and without IDD.
ILADD increased by more than fifty percent the number of adults with IDD served through its clubs, classes and programs in 2022. At the end of 2021, ILADD served 60 adults with IDD through its Book Club, Game Nights, Hiking Club, Relationships Class, Safety Class, Fitness Class and Cooking Class. ILADD now serves more than 90 adults with IDD through a wide variety of clubs, classes and programs. In 2022, ILADD added several new social outings, along with a Community Service Club, Grilling Class, Voter Empowerment Training Class and Self-Advocates Group.
ILADD also provides a quarterly series of ILADD Informational Seminars on important topics for adults with IDD, as well as their parents, guardians, caregivers and other interested community members. The topics include opportunities for independence, mental health
awareness, financial planning, special needs trusts, government benefits, ABLE Accounts and Medicaid waivers.
“ILADD was created in October of 2019,” Easterday shared. “Then the pandemic hit. So, we didn’t really start our programming in full until 2021. My wife [Deb] and I facilitated a book club for a number of years in conjunction with the Village of Merici and some other [organizations], so we started with a book club and brought that into the ILADD fold in January 2021. We were serving 10 people at the very beginning, and because of our tremendous programming committee and program director Michele Gray, we now serve over 100 individuals with IDD through a variety of programs, primarily in Boone and Hamilton County, but we have some individuals from Hendricks County [Brownsburg area] and the north side of Indianapolis.”
Easterday emphasized that ILADD’s growth and success with its expanding programming are a result of the efforts and outreach of its dedicated volunteers, directors and board members. Additionally, Easterday spoke on the importance of ILADD’s programs and overall mission.
“The point is to get our self-advocates [ILADD members] out into the community,” Easterday stated. “And to enhance
their life skills by getting those opportunities out in the community as well as acceptance from the community.”
ADDRESSING THE CRITICAL HOUSING SHORTAGE
Easterday shared that there are far more adult residents of Indiana with IDD than there are safe, affordable, supportive residential settings designed to accommodate their needs and wants throughout their lifespans. There are approximately 159,031 Indiana residents with IDD, of which 37,467 are ages 22-plus. Only 8 percent of Hoosier adults with IDD live in their own homes and 64 percent live with family.
Creating solutions to the housing shortage for individuals with IDD requires a multi-faceted approach that involves collaboration between government agencies, housing providers, advocacy groups, and community members.
Community integration, among many factors, is key to these efforts. ILADD’s Crossbridge Point, in conjunction with Old Town Companies LLC’s proposed Wild Air development, will be located on the east side of Marysville Road in Zionsville. Crossbridge Point will encourage community integration by promoting housing where individuals with IDD can live alongside individuals without disabilities. This helps foster inclusive communities and reduces isolation.
Addressing the housing shortage for individuals with IDD requires a comprehensive and collaborative effort. This collaboration works towards creating a more inclusive society that provides adequate and accessible housing for all individuals.
“Old Town is very charitable and civic-minded,” Easterday expressed. “And we are continuing to work with [local area] landowners and developers with regard to the possibility of an additional [development] project in the future.”
INTRODUCING CROSSBRIDGE POINT
ILADD’s initial project, Crossbridge Point, will be a neurodiverse neighborhood of small homes in the Zionsville area that embodies home, choice and security for adults with IDD.
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Crossbridge Point, an ILADD, Inc. Community Conceptual Rendering of Our Two Bedroom Home @2020 ILASS, Inc.
While ILADD continues its process of seeking input from builders in addition to Old Town Companies, stakeholders and its self-advocates and their families, Easterday shared some of the general details that will give the public an idea of what Crossbridge will look and feel like once it comes to fruition.
“We chose the name ‘Crossbridge Point’ because we feel like our self-advocates, when they move into a home of their own, are crossing an important bridge in their life to a point of inde -
pendence. Our development will have a learning/community center where we intend to have a teaching kitchen and a large classroom where we can have some of the independent living classes and social gatherings too.”
When asked about price points and the maintenance of the zero lot line lots and “cottages,” as these houses have been dubbed, Easterday said, “We’ll be meeting all the quality, safety and architectural standards while trying to keep the price point down. We’re looking at [house plans] around 1,000 square feet [and] one-story for the one-bedroom cottages, and we are talking about having a two-bedroom [option] because we’ve got some interest from our self-advocates in having roommates.”
Easterday explained that ILADD is looking at fundraising opportunities to cover the cost of the engineering, architectural, legal and other expenses that are typically rolled up into the price of building a home. He added, “We’d like to try to cover as much of that as possible
through fundraising to decrease the normal cost of a home based on the square footage for this area. We’re still receiving some input on this, but ILADD would continue to own the land and the homeowners would own the homes. ILADD would take care of the maintenance, and if we can, through fundraising, we may establish an endowment for the maintenance.”
Though the current projection date for the construction to commence is not until 2025, Easterday shared that ILADD has already received electronic sign-ups from a myriad of interested individuals and families.
“We do have an ‘interest’ list on the ILADD and Crossbridge Point websites,” Easterday said. “We’ve got over 100 names already on that list, which is why we’re continuing to look for property in the area.”
For more information on ILADD and its remarkable services, visit iladdinc.org, and for more information on Crossbridge Point, visit crossbridgepoint.org.
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Wild Air Development Poised
To Embrace Legacy & Community
Last month, the Zionsville Town Council voted 6-0 to rezone the Wild Air development property from a Rural R-2 classification to a planned unit development. Located at the intersection of Marysville Road and West Oak Street, the 260-acre farm was formerly the home of the late Mrs. Elizabeth “Liz” Johnson.
We spoke with Justin Moffett, CEO of Old Town Companies, about the proposed development and how Old Town Companies plans to honor the legacy of the late matriarch and her
family’s contributions to the town and equestrian community while providing opportunities for additional housing and public amenities that will benefit the entire Zionsville community. The proposed mixed-use development will in-
clude miles of interconnecting trails and a community park created by preserving 30 acres of woodlands. Additionally, Wild Air will have retail, a community clubhouse, a swimming pool, senior living cottages, independent living for adults
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// Janelle Morrison • Photography // Courtesy of Old Town Land Companies
with developmental/intellectual disabilities through ILADD’s Crossbridge Point residential community, a senior living facility, single-family homes, townhomes, and multifamily units. There is also a 10acre civic parcel marked on the site plan.
PRESERVING THE JOHNSON FAMILY LEGACY
The Johnson family has been committed to and active in the Zionsville community for many generations. They founded the prestigious Traders Point Charity Horse Show that was held annually at Wild Air Farm, the Johnson’s south farm that is south of Oak Street [Hunt Club Road and Kissell Road]. The Johnsons have also hosted a variety of other philanthropic events that have benefited local area organizations over many decades.
As part of Old Town’s visioning process, the master plan addresses the stewardship of the property with the aim to create a special community that upholds the family legacy while remaining deeply rooted in the land.
Some of the development team’s “guiding principles” include woodland preservation, natural connections and balancing
Moffett spoke about how his company was selected by the Johnson family to be the developer for this unique and rather special property.
“This was an RFP process, and that’s not an unheard-of process for property of this magnitude,” Moffett said. “They [the Johnsons] sent us the RFP packet, and we reviewed it. I sensed they were very focused on their family’s legacy in the community. In our early conversations, I could tell that their hearts are really in this. This is a transition for them, and it’s more about stewardship than management of this family asset. This is what compelled me to get involved. I feel like this is Old Town’s sweet spot — residentially focused placemaking initiatives that are transformative and raise the bar on community development.”
GATHERING COMMUNITY INPUT AND PROVIDING SOLUTIONS
Moffett shared that a week-long charrette was held in October 2022, during which the master planning team collaborated to test opportunities and gather community leaders’ and members’ insights — a process that Moffett said brought him pride in his team for their diligence throughout. As part of the internal and external dialogues that took place in the latter part of 2022, Moffett and his team identified two populations in Zionsville that are currently underserved, and as a result, the site plan includes areas dedicated to senior citizens and adults with intellectual and/ or developmental disabilities.
“It’s been part of our internal dialogue, when we have large-scale developments, to identify opportunities for us to serve our marginalized neighbors,” Moffett stated. “It’s become a corporate strategy for us — how do we serve our neighbors well and not just build houses for people in the community? The underserved populations are further marginalized when we [as a broader community] create housing for them that’s usually isolated. Here [at Wild Air], we are providing obtainable housing that will be integrated so that they can have an
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integrated life. So, a great partner for us to have is ILADD, Inc. [Independent Living for Adults with Developmental/ Intellectual Disabilities]. We’re donating these [designated] lots for these cottage houses, so it’s effectively a [multi-million dollar] contribution to ILADD.”
Moffett continued, “We know that we have a growing senior population. The ‘Boomers’ are retiring and would like housing alternatives in their hometowns, and most options don’t exist in Zionsville. We have two senior-targeted components. One component will be ranches and cottages, 55 and older and low maintenance, where the HOA [homeowners association] will be responsible for lawn maintenance and exterior home maintenance.”
The second component will be a senior living facility that will, ideally, have memory care as well as assisted and independent living that Moffett shared would have approximately 200 rooms. An operator for this facility had not yet been identified at the time of publication.
“Additionally, our goal is to have a broad range of housing types,” Moffett said. “Because of the quality of what we’re proposing to build, I don’t think you’ll see anything starting below $500,000 other than the obtainable units. We will have townhouses and varying single-family lots, and we’ll have a section on the west side of Marysville Road that will be allocated for high-end luxury homes with similar lot sizes to what you’d see in Holliday Farms.”
When asked about the construction start timetable, Moffett replied, “We are now diving into construction drawings,
and we’re already a full year into [the proj ect timeline]. We want to put shovels in the ground in the spring of 2024. We have a full year of site work because it’s such a large-scale site, so I’d say it’s two years before you will see the first move-in.”
GETTING THE TOWN LEADERSHIP’S “BUY IN”
We spoke with Town of Zionsville Community & Economic Development Senior Planner Roger Kilmer about the input that was presented before the Plan Commission that resulted in its [4-2] favorable recommendation of the Wild Air development plans before the Town Council’s unanimous vote.
“There were some remonstrators that spoke and raised questions that focused on traffic, specifically on Oak Street, and how a development of this size was going to impact the performance of Oak Street and other surrounding streets,” Kilmer stated. “After [thoughtful] discussion, the Plan Commission voted four to two, being favorable for forwarding the rezoning request to the town council. There were some concerns about the introduction of multifamily living, retail, and other uses within this PUD [planned unit development]. If someone just purely focuses on the comprehensive plan, it calls for only residential in this area. The comprehensive plan is not an ordinance. Where an ordinance is a law and has to be adhered to, a comprehensive plan is a guide for development that hopefully works in concert with the ordinances.”
Kilmer added, “We try to look at any project from as many different perspec-
benefit and where the challenges lie. When we talk about rezoning, we sharpen the focus a little bit more, and the spotlight becomes a little more intense. Rezoning is changing what has been planned for in an area to something new, and we look at: How does this new piece of the puzzle fit into the context that’s already there? I think it’s a well-thoughtout development. I know Old Town reached out extensively to neighbors and town leaders and asked what they would like to see out here and how they would like it done. They did their best to meet that as best as they could.”
Upon the Zionsville Town Council’s decision to approve the rezoning of the Johnson’s former homestead property, we asked Town Council President Jason Plunkett to share his thoughts on what compelled the council to support the rezoning request unanimously.
“The [Wild Air] development checks a lot of boxes for strategic and appropriate development,” Plunkett stated. “As Old Town mentioned [at the council meeting], it fulfills a lot of needs for the town. Old Town’s engagement process — which began in October of last year — laid out the area, and as they continued to overlay different ideas, they continued to engage town leadership, council, staff and members of the community. This is a really good example of development listening to the community and to the needs of the community before coming before the Plan Commission or the council for any type of approval.”
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