Plan 2020: Charting a Vision for the Future of Indianapolis

GIPC_Indy-2020-Logo_2-ColorBy Alex Miser

Journey is a very prevalent theme in Plan 2020, the Bicentennial plan for Indianapolis. The plan defines a new approach to planning in Indianapolis, meshing community vision, values and strategy with an unprecedented, coordinated update to core city government plans. Plan 2020’s mission is to make Indianapolis a better place to live, work and visit.

While Plan 2020 is focused on the future of Indy, it’s important to understand the journey that got our city to this point. One of the defining stops on our journey was UniGov, the merging of many aspects of City and County government in recognition of the need to coordinate growth and insure long-term prosperity for the region. UniGov was done at a time when cities nationally were struggling with population and economic losses. Subsequently, Indy grew while many of its peer cities declined. This was a result of Indianapolis converting areas that might have been suburbs in other cities to part of the City of Indianapolis.

UniGov bought Indy 40 years of growth by expanding the city’s borders. We have finally caught up to that growth and we can no longer expand by adding land. We have to grow by adding people. Plan 2020 will be our roadmap for attracting new residents and improving the city to reflect the values of current residents.

“The home for Plan 2020 has undergone a unique journey of its own. Plan 2020 is based in old City Hall, which has been brought back to life as The Hall.”

At the heart of Plan 2020’s mission is understanding what type of city residents want Indianapolis to become. To answer this question we have asked the community two primary questions: “What do you value?” and “What do you wish Indianapolis valued?” These questions are check points along our planning journey to ensure that we are crafting a future that aligns with the needs and values of residents. You can join the conversation by visiting our MindMixer page, which helps inform our team about ways to forge a compelling future for Indianapolis.

The home for Plan 2020 has undergone a unique journey of its own. Plan 2020 is based in old City Hall, which has been brought back to life as The Hall.

The Hall is the planning hub for Plan 2020. It’s where ideas connect. The Hall serves as an urban think tank and hub for the city’s new strategic plan and other community-based planning in the City. The Hall is one of Plan 2020’s engagement vehicles, helping to produce collaboration and discussion among Indianapolis residents. The Hall hosts non-traditional public meetings, forums, events and activities to spur innovative thinking about the future of Indianapolis.

Alex Miser helps the Plan 2020 team craft and share their story with the community, and is in charge of operating and programming for The Hall, the home for the Plan 2020 initiative. He is a life-long Hoosier and is passionate about helping Indianapolis develop neighborhoods and communities that people are proud to call home.

Join us in 2014 as we celebrate the theme of “JOURNEY” during the annual Spirit & Place Festival, November 7-16.

Wildlife Journeys into Downtown Indy

By Dave Hoffman

It’s arrived! You may not have noticed it, so you may want to watch for wildlife the next time that you are downtown.

Watching for wildlife, for me, goes back a long way. Poised on the edge of the front seat, a decade before seat belts, I loved to peer into the darkness as we journeyed on bumpy, gravel roads from my aunt’s rural farm toward our home in the city. Intent on spotting a pair of green or yellow eyes, those wondrous, magical eyes illuminated in the headlights that stimulated my youthful imagination, and filled me with mixed emotions of wonder, excitement, awe, and sometimes fear.

The other “wildlife journey” was a recent move from the outskirts of town to a new location at 708 East Michigan Street, where the Indiana Wildlife Federation (IWF) brings a rich tradition of “common sense conservation” to downtown. Established back in 1938, IWF promotes science-based, wildlife management and sustainable use of our wildlife and wildlife habitats.

Diverse membership in IWF includes conservation clubs, wildlife watchers, hikers, hunters, fisherman, photographers, bird watchers, and those who want to ensure that our wildlife and wildlife habitat are maintained for future generations.

United, we speak out against shooting deer in fenced enclosures, fight invasive species like Asian Carp, actively participate in the legislative process, and work to guarantee access for all Hoosiers to enjoy outdoor recreation. We hope to teach tomorrow’s youth to enjoy Indiana’s natural resources, and how to manage them wisely.

Join IWF and many other outdoor organizations at the Ford Hoosier Outdoor Experience, September 20-21 at Fort Harrison State Park. The event is billed as “Indiana’s largest, hands-on outdoor recreation event.” Details are available at Get the whole family involved in wildlife watching by stopping by our booth and helping your children build a bird feeder.

In the meantime, we’d love to hear about your own early outdoor experiences with wildlife. If you would like to share them with IWF, please send them to

Dr. Dave Hoffman is an IWF Board Member. A native Hoosier, and retired Duke Energy, Indiana executive. Dave enjoys numerous outdoor activities, writing about the outdoors, and wildlife art.

Your people matter most

By Randy and Angie Stocklinf%20+%20i%20Founders_Randy%20+%20Angie%20Stocklin

Our journey began in 2005, in our 10-by-12 foot Greenwood home office. With a shared passion for trying new things, an entrepreneurial spirit and a strong set of core values, we launched an ecommerce business that, over the next few years, would dabble in a little bit of everything — like sending Santa letters to children and selling fashion accessories, cloth diapers and socks.

By 2008, we had both quit our full-time jobs and committed our lives fully (days, nights, weekends) to our business — One Click Ventures. Expansion quickly followed, which entailed moving into several larger spaces, owning a portfolio of nine consumer-facing brands and employing a team of 65+. And, in 2013, we decided to begin a new leg of our journey — one that will forever change the business and set the team up for unprecedented growth.

“Whether your people are team members, customers, friends or others, they are your most valuable assets and can help take your journey to places you never knew existed.”

Journey 2.0, if you will, involves a new strategic focus for One Click’s portfolio: To build nationally recognized consumer eyewear brands through differentiated customer experiences. From lessons learned with and, we’ve built, from scratch, a new online prescription eyewear brand called felix + iris — which by the way, launched Sept. 16!

What’s most exciting about felix + iris, perhaps, is that our team has set out to solve a huge problem: It’s difficult to find the right fit in eyewear online — a pair of glasses that looks great, feels comfortable on your face and meets your vision needs. felix + iris is committed to solving this seemingly unsolvable problem by using a combination of proprietary technology, data, and personalization. We truly believe felix + iris will change the way people buy glasses (for the better).

Throughout our journey to felix + iris, we’ve learned more about eyewear than we ever imagined. More importantly, though, we’ve learned the importance of collaboration, teamwork and having a little fun along the way. If we had to share one tidbit of advice to others who are starting a new journey, we’d say this — Remember, “your people” matter most. Whether your people are team members, customers, friends or others, they are your most valuable assets and can help take your journey to places you never knew existed. Invest in them. Care too much. Encourage them to grow.

We could not be more excited to share our story with the Spirit & Place community, and we hope you join us on our incredible new journey!

Join us in 2014 as we celebrate the theme of “JOURNEY” during the Spirit & Place Festival, November 7-16.

Randy and Angie Stocklin are the co-founders of One Click Ventures in Greenwood, Ind.


Why Do We Keep Going?

There was a time in my life when, if I was asked, I would have likely said that the reason we move forward is because of some inner brokenness that we are longing to escape. It looks like that sometimes, I think. If we stick our finger with a needle while we’re sewing it seems that the reason we would want to avoid that is because, well, it hurts. Brokenness and what seems to break us brings pain. We don’t want pain, so we move forward to escape.

“In a labyrinth, like life, there is only one destination. We simply have to keep moving forward in order to find it.”

This is the 19th year of the Spirit & Place Festival and the festival will explore JOURNEY. This year’s festival will kick off with the building of a labyrinth in historic Fountain Square. The church I serve as Senior Pastor, The Church Within, will join with other churches, spiritual organizations, and a number of local businesses to collect cans from which this labyrinth will be built.

A labyrinth is a sort of physical metaphor for the journey we walk in life. A labyrinth isn’t a maze. In a maze there are dead ends. You can get lost. In a labyrinth, like life, there is only one destination. We simply have to keep moving forward in order to find it.

My own spiritual journey has felt, at times, more like a maze than a labyrinth. I am sure I am not alone. What began for me in a small-town, Presbyterian church continued through years of atheism to a broad understanding that there are many paths to the divine and that every one of those paths is unfolding within the divine.

The motivation to move forward, if you were to ask me now, isn’t about escaping pain; it is about accepting the invitation home. It is about being drawn forward, not running from. It is about embracing the gorgeousness that we create together. We aren’t escaping brokenness. Brokenness is a temporary understanding of a false idea. We’re remembering that we are already whole.

From November 7th through 16th, 2014, Spirit & Place events all over the city will invite us to reflect on the many facets of personal and collective journey as well as the what, how, when, where and why of our moving and growing through life. Who among us couldn’t benefit from a few steps forward next to other journeyers?



IMG_0653Reverend Darren Chittick is the Senior Pastor of The Church Within in Fountain Square. He is an Indiana native, a country boy moved to the city, and he regularly enjoys growing food, knitting, martial arts and an interfaith understanding that finds a seat at the table for everyone. No one left out. If you want to know more about his work, check out

Nearby Journeys

sandy-sasso-08By Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso

By plane, train and boat, I have taken many journeys across thousands of miles and continents; many stories, many moments of discovery.  But I want for a moment to reflect on a journey of a few blocks taken by foot.

“Together we discovered a whole world around us and between us.”

It was early fall and the sun was still warm.  My grandson and I were taking a short walk from my home to a nearby playground.  We were the only two people on the neighborhood path.  Backyards lined the sides of the walkway.  Vegetable gardens yielded their last produce and leaves began to turn; some had already fallen.  My grandson must have heard a sound of a scampering squirrel or birdsong when he stopped.  “Bubbie, do you hear that?”  He asked.

My attention was elsewhere and I hadn’t heard a thing.  But I stopped when he did and listened.  “Wow!” I said, as the squirrel hurried to collect his store of nuts.  Then I too heard the sounds of leaves crackling under foot and wind breathing through trees.  My grandson had taught me to listen.  Less distracted, he gave his full attention to where he was.  Together we discovered a whole world around us and between us.  Mistakenly, I had thought our destination was the playground.

It has been a few years since that autumn journey, but I can still feel my grandson’s  hand in mine and savor the delicious moments of undisturbed silence.

The poet Mary Oliver says there are three things that we must do in life:

Pay attention

Be astonished

And tell the story

Excellent advice for all our journeys, whether far away or at home.


No Longer Naptown

Soldiers & Sailors Monument Photo courtesy: Visit Indy

Soldiers & Sailors Monument
Photo courtesy: Visit Indy

by Christine Zetzl

For years Indy has been trying to decide what hat to wear – note how we’ve been fighting the love-hate “Naptown” nickname for decades.

But something new is brewing in our city. (And I’m not just talking about the 12+ new breweries to open in 2014!).

Sure, we do sports better than anyone. We’ve pulled off Olympic Trials, B1G Ten Championships and a Super Bowl. Hell, each May we host the world’s largest single-day sport event, the Indy 500.

Yet Indy excels at more than just sports, and we’re on a journey to find our identity.

Just this year, Indy welcomed a bikeshare program, the world’s largest all-electric car sharing program, and the first new downtown grocery store in nearly 30 years. This progress is clearly reflected in a huge spike of residents moving to our city’s core. Over the past four years, the number of residential apartments increased more than 30 percent, while rentals are in historically high demand (Indianapolis Downtown, Inc., & Urban Initiatives, 2013).

And with people, comes personality.

Our food scene has evolved from chain city to a launching pad for everything artisanal (I’m looking at you, bacon marshmallows). Alternative transportation options have caught on (though I’m not sure the Handlebar counts as “transportation”, we’ll allow it). And a culture of Indypride has exploded like never before.

In my short time living the “adult life” in Indy, I’ve noticed change for the better. “Naptown” only exists in our rearview mirror, and I’m excited to be along for the journey.

Christine Zetzl is the Digital Marketing Coordinator at Visit Indy. Born and raised in Indianapolis, Christine enjoys cycling, coffee, traveling and all things Indy. Follow her latest adventure on Twitter: @christinezetzl.

Join us in 2014 as we celebrate the theme of “JOURNEY” during the Spirit & Place Festival, November 7-16.

My Journey

Brett Michael Wiscons

Brett Michael Wiscons

By Brett M. Wiscons

Ever since I was sixteen, way back in 1996, I wanted to be a musician.

My love for music really was born in my bedroom. I’d spend innumerable hours with the door closed while I listened to tunes by the Doors, Eagles, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Beach Boys. You know, the good stuff. I fantasized about being on a stage in not only the USA, but also in foreign countries. All I wanted to figure out was a way to make music my career. Fast forward to 2008, and I bid adieu to my relatively high paying and reasonably steady sales job to jump in, with both feet, to the music business.

“I fantasized about being on a stage in not only the USA, but also in foreign countries. All I wanted to figure out was a way to make music my career.”

I’d been singing in a band since high school, so I was laying the foundation for what was to come. As I moved on to college at Marian University in Indianapolis, I studied (sometimes) hard and decided it was best to at least obtain a degree in case the whole music thing didn’t work out. I settled on a business administration degree with a concentration in marketing and it truly came in handy.  I was still singing in a band on the weekends and getting my feet wet on the business side of things. I handled most of the booking and promotion aspects of the band. Looking back, it really was a blessing – for now I am just as comfortable trying to book a show in Florida as I am in my home state of Indiana.

Now, I’m 34, started my own, independent record label and publishing company (MAD Diamond Entertainment) and have some great things on the horizon. In the last two years I’ve written and self-published two private detective novels and released a new EP of music that was produced by a two-time GRAMMY winner. Later this summer, my new group and I (The Brett Wiscons Band) will be playing high profile shows with Zac Brown Band (July 13th) and at the Indiana State Fair (August 14th). I’m still working on playing overseas though, but it’s only a matter of time.

“I’ve by no means “arrived,” but the journey is what keeps my train on the tracks.”

It’s nice to pause and look back at my journey thus far. Writing this blog post has aided me in doing just that. Like most people, I’m always eyeing what’s next, but rarely live “in the moment.” When I really think about it, I feel I’ve been able to do some cool things in my music career which have led to lifelong friendships and memories. This is what I should be doing with my life. If there’s anyone out there – no matter what age – whose time and mind is consumed with a certain career field or path, they should follow it. You just might get where you’re going. I’ve by no means “arrived,” but the journey is what keeps my train on the tracks.

Brett Michael Wiscons is a singer-songwriter and novelist. He lives in Zionsville, IN with his wife and dog.  He can be found online at

Join us in 2014 as we celebrate the theme of “JOURNEY” during the Spirit & Place Festival, November 7-16.