Indy Builds a Front Porch, Gov. Bush Likes the View: City Hall Change Makes a Shaky Porch

Linda Lutton
May 1, 2000

One of the risks for a community-based program that is championed by the mayor is what happens when the mayor leaves.

With Mayor Steve Goldsmith’s term ending late last year, community members talk about the Front Porch alliance in the past tense. Hundreds of links to articles and speeches mentioning the alliance, as well as descriptions of alliance projects, have been removed from the city’s website.

The fate of the Front Porch Alliance is up in the air, and Mayor Bart Peterson, the first Democratic mayor of Indianapolis in 32 years, is caught in a political bind. He inherited a program too popular for him to discontinue but too closely associated with his predecessor to adopt as his own.

Peterson has moved the alliance out of the mayor’s office to the Department of Metropolitan Development and assigned a mayoral liaison to the initiative. Under Goldsmith, the alliance employed four community brokers; today just two are in the neighborhoods. “I don’t get what I got when Mayor Goldsmith was there,” says Ermil Thompson of the Life Line Community Center, launched with alliance help.

Indianapolis Star editorial writer Andrea Neal, who has helped author several favorable editorials on the alliance, says Peterson “doesn’t want to disband it, but he didn’t feel he could claim it as his own initiative, and making it part of the Department of Metropolitan Development is the way to institutionalize it.”

In the long run, becoming part of the city government infrastructure could help ensure that the porch stays.

Lutton, Linda. "Indy Builds a Front Porch, Gov. Bush Likes the View: City Hall Change Makes a Shaky Porch."Youth Today, May 2000, p. 33.

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