Village Voice 07 2017: July

Letter from the President

Dear Villagers,

Summer is going by fast! I hope you’ve been enjoying your summer and taking advantage of all the events happening in Zionsville. Here’s the latest with the VRA:

We are looking for a new VRA President for 2018. I have served as President for the past two years and although I have really enjoyed being the President and getting to know you, I believe it is time to pass on the torch. If you’re looking to get more involved, serving is a great way to make a positive impact in your community. If you’re interested in the position, please contact me at, and we can discuss the position in greater detail.

Other happenings with the board: Bret Brewer has agreed to continue to serve as Vice President and Gary Angstadt as Secretary. Erika Singler has served as Treasurer for the past two years and is stepping down for 2018. My very own husband, Phil Martini, would like to serve as her replacement. A huge thanks to their involvement and community service!

The VRA has generously donated $200 to the Lincoln Park Concert Series. Due to our donation, we are able to hand out brochures at the July 12 concert. If you would like to help pass out brochures, join me at the July 12 concert. I would love the company!

Calling all truck owners! We need your help! The annual VRA picnic on Main Street will be taking place on Saturday, Sept. 16 at 6:00 p.m. Last year we ordered the tables and chairs and had them delivered for this event. This was a major expense for the VRA. I believe the fire department will lend us tables and chairs if we are able to pick them up and return them. If you have a truck and are able to pick up the tables / chairs or even a portion, this would make a difference in our expense. Please contact me if you’re able to help.

I am also looking for volunteers to hand out flyers for the picnic in September. Every year, the VRA hand delivers flyers with information about the VRA and the picnic to each house in the village. This requires a lot of volunteers. Let me know if you’re interested in delivering flyers, and I’ll add you to my list.

Lastly, Town Council’s proposal to rezone the 200 West properties has been rescheduled for the July 17th Plan Commission Meeting. Our next meeting is September 26th at 7:30pm. at the SullivanMunce. At this meeting we will be voting on the new Board for 2018. I hope you’re able to attend! I look forward to seeing you around and at the picnic! 

Town Council Insights

Food desert avoided with Kroger purchase, Walmart now up for sale

I was certainly relieved to see that Kroger was taking over the Michigan Road and Boone Village Marsh locations. I was afraid that Zionsville would become a “food desert” until a replacement was found. Kroger has long been looking at Zionsville, originally with a plan to build on the Altum property along Michigan. When that fell through, a specialty Kroger was then scheduled to be a part of the Pittman Farms development which probably changes the makeup of that design, whenever it moves forward. There is also a Kroger that is planned for 146th and Michigan and I suspect will continue forward despite this change.

From a Town perspective, we haven’t yet heard from Kroger or the building owners what the intended use of those properties are from a grocery perspective. Kroger has their mainline stores, but also has subsidiaries that are more specialized in nature, so we’re anxious to hear their plans.

On a related retail note, it looks like the proposed Walmart property is now up for sale. The Town had heard from an appraiser recently looking to see what the property might be worth (through comps) so we had a suspicion a sale might happen.  Since our lawsuit was resolved last year with them, and their original proposal was judicially approved, we have not heard from them on their plans for the site. The original plan is not a store they build anymore, and changes would require variance approvals from both Carmel and Zionsville. I will keep an eye on that property / situation and report back any changes I hear.


Founder of VRA movingident

by Heather Lusk
The heritage of the Village Resident Association began almost two decades ago when two women joined forces and brought together a group of residents to unify the neighborhood.

One of those women, Jean Apple, will soon be leaving the community in which she had so much impact.

In 1996 Mary Jane Phillippe asked her neighbor Jean to help her organize a residents’ association for the town similar to what surrounding subdivisions had.

“She said, ‘I want to facilitate,’” said Jean. “I always remember that word she used.”

The two ladies came up with options for a name and on December 7, 1997, sat down with eight other residents to lay the groundwork. In February, 1998 they held their first meeting and discussed goals - at the top of the list was Quality of Life. Jean was soon appointed the association’s first president.

Since then the VRA has grown with a current membership of more than 100 and has had nine following presidents.

“I’m proud that I had a part in it,” said Jean. “I think it’s important that we have it."

It was through Jean’s involvement in the Historic Preservation Advisory Group to the town council in 2000 that led to the establishment of the Lamplighter Award. Since 2003 the VRA has presented the award to homeowners in the village who are lighting the way to renovation by preserving their older homes.

Marianne Doyle met Jean in the 1990s while volunteering at the SullivanMunce. During public hearings for Maplelawn, determining what to do with the outbuildings on the historic property donated to the town, Marianne was concerned that the property might not be preserved.

“Jean, being an attorney, helped us write up the plan for the parks department,” she said.

At the time Jean was president of the Zionsville Historical Society and then served as one of the original board members of Maplelawn.

“Ralph and I will miss Jean,” said Jan Stacey. “She is a special individual who believes in preservation, passionate about her volunteer work for Zionsville, and appreciated life! Her many contributions are being seen today because of her forward thinking.”

Some of those contributions are literally cemented in the community. She was instrumental in the establishment of a plaque at the corner of Main and Cedar Streets in the pocket park. The plaque coincided with the town’s sesquicentennial celebration.

It’s thanks to Jean that the playhouse in Lion’s Park exists. The house was built in Jean’s driveway with help from Zionsville Historic Society members. The house was auctioned to a family, but when they moved they donated the home to Lion’s Park so all children could enjoy it.

She’ll be leaving behind a replica of her Maple Street home to the SullivanMunce. The replica was built for the original homeowner.

In the early 1960s she was part of the group that started the Off-Main Street Players, a theater group that performed in the Hurst dairy barn in a farm on the property that is now part of Raintree. She helped prepare the barn for the plays and also performed.

Somehow she also found time to be president to the Kiwanis in 2004, member of the Century Structure Committee and a member of PZAZ (People of Zionsville for the Aesthetics of Zionsville). After raising five children she also graduated from law school at the age of 59 in 1990 and passed the bar that same year.

“We’re going to miss her,” said Marianne, “for her huge commitment to lifelong friendships here and also to historic preservation in Zionsville.”

Jean will be moving to Boulder City, Nevada, to be closer to her West Coast family which includes her sister, children and grandchildren.

Village Gardening

Keep the birds around with a variety of plants they'll love
by Delma Mindel, Villager & Gardener (@145 W. Walnut)

Here's a way to manage the proliferation of weeds in your garden: Devote at least 15 minutes a day to weeding, which really helps keep weeds at bay. Fifteen minutes doesn’t sound like such a chore and is manageable, don’t you think? (Except for that hidden from view patch behind the barbarous rugose and next to the fence. Emphasis on the barbs. Oh well.) 

Let’s talk about birds: Birds around the Village are busy feeding their young. A house wren raised several broods in our yard, and a pair of tufted titmice are attending to their babies in the bird house on the fence. Quite a few plants are enjoyed by birds and provide food and protection from the weather. A special issue of Garden Gate has excellent suggestions for plants that encourage birds to stick around. Here are a variety of plants for our cold zone, that birds love and provide food at different times during the year:

1.) Serviceberry, Amelanchier arborea, a tree with white flowers in the spring, red berries in early summer. Requires full sun to partial shade in well-drained to clay soil. 15 to 25 ft. tall. 

2.) Arrowwood viburnum, Viburnum denatum Blue Muffin Shrub, has white flowers in the spring, then blue berries in late summer. (Cool!) Requires full sun and well-drained soil, 3-5 ft. tall. 

3.) Hosta Hosta, Sagae, white summer flowers with a hint of lavender, part to full shade, loved by hummingbirds and bees, 2-3 ft. tall. 

4.) Salvia Salvia, Wendy’s Wish, is a tender perennial with purple-red calyx with pink flowers from spring to fall, full sun, well-drained soil, 2-3 ft. tall.  

5.) Black-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia fulgida sullivantii, “Goldsturm’, perennial, golden-yellow flowers with black centers, from summer to fall, full sun, well-drained soil, 2-3 ft. tall.

Village Garden Club Members - and you know who you are - are invited to our home on Tuesday, July 18th, 5:30 p.m. for a glass of wine, a few snacks and a garden walk-around. This will be followed by a walk down Main St. to Cobblestone Grill for dinner. Please RSVP to the Mindels, to reserve your spot. Not a garden club member and interested in joining us?  By all means, please RSVP to Mike. 

What's Happening in Zionsville