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Which of these describes you?

1828 Spotlight: Mark O’Neall

Posted by: IndyHub
Posted: March 2, 2015
Categories: IndyHub

The 1828 Project’s one of our signature programs at IndyHub, and each year it’s full of incredible leaders between the ages of 18 and 28. Mark is a part of 1828’s Class IV. We sent him some questions. He responded. We totally think you should meet him, so keep reading.

Mark O'NealIndyHub: How many years have you lived in Indy? What are your favorite Indy spots?

Mark: I have lived in (downtown) Indianapolis for three years. My favorite spots are, in this order: Central Library, IMA, World War Monument Shrine Room.

How would you describe your connection to Indianapolis when you began 1828?

Indianapolis and I get along well. I have found it to be an easy city. There is plenty of rewarding work to be done, with visible signs of hope/progress, due to its small size.

If a new museum opens, or a new commercial district revives itself, or destroys itself, you can go explore it, find out what’s going, and who’s behind everything. Small victories can generally reveal themselves to those willing to look for them, again, because Indy is so small.

When I began 1828, I had already plugged in to a few networks of interesting people, and can continue this by meeting new 1828ers, but also talking with some movers and shakers.

What have you been up to since 1828?

I find improving the (urban) human experience rewarding. I enjoy society, and seeing what people are capable of. At Greenstreet, we have been involved in making sure Indy’s future transportation investments will connect the right people, and be properly leveraged for further investment, and generally improved land use patterns.

Central Indiana has not made intelligent use of its land lately, but when a region of our size makes a small improvement, the ripple effects can be significant. We also help anchor institutions like hospitals and universities be better neighbors, collaborators with each other, with government, and improve how they provide their core services

What project are you most excited about in Indy?

I’m actually most excited about the humanities writ large in Indianapolis right now. We may not be an arts capital, but there’s been plenty for me to get immersed in, and I’m consistently impressed with what the museums and other institutions are up to.

Places like iMOCA, Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, IMA, Butler, but also the various galleries, cafes, and performance venues like PRINTtEXT, Calvin Fletcher’s, White Rabbit, just to name a few. These places are the bright lights on a dark street, for me. Also, my wife-to-be, Sarah.

What is the current environment for your project within Indianapolis?

In regards to Greenstreet’s Transit-Oriented Development work with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and IndyConnect, the environment is both good and bad. The MPO has laid solid groundwork to plan for our future.

But Indianapolis’ need for improved transit, and the relating economic development, falls on deaf ears at the State House, and the IN Dept of Transportation. Tax caps have severely limited local governments flexibility with these kinds of municipal services improvements.

Our anchor institution work is very exciting right now. Many stakeholders, including the institutions themselves, the city, and the philanthropic sector are thinking in new ways about shared value between them and their work.

Of all the cities where you could live, why did you choose Indy?

Initially, I came to study at Ball State’s College of Architecture and Planning: Indianapolis Center (CAP:IC), for my Masters in Urban Design. When I realized how livable and enjoyable the city is, I decided to stay. I hadn’t planned on it, though. I had never been to Indy before I came for graduate study, and planned to leave as soon as I finished, going back to the west coast, where I had most recently lived. We may end up leaving at some point, but I can never seem to guess where I’ll be in the next 5 years.

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