Monday, January 4, 2016

Whipping through Winter

Since our Miller Spotlight volunteers presented our community plan, action group chairmen and women have met with IACED and the Legacy Foundation to discuss sustainability planning for continuing into 2016. Our volunteers are looking for more folks to join in the Miller Spotlight fun and additional organizations to partner with as well. We are starting to write grants and partner with local business/ organizations to help complete our 29 community goals. You don't have to live in Miller you just have to care about our revitalization efforts to participate. All are welcome to join!!!

On Wednesday, December 16, 2015 members of Gary's volunteer-run Miller Spotlight project met with Horizon Bank to discuss partnering with them to execute 2 of our 29 goals in our community plan. Jobs and the Economy is one of the 7 themes being addressed in our community plan. 

Chairwoman, Derreka Rollins and our community builder (Jessie Renslow) helped draft curriculum outlines for the financial literacy workshops Horizon will help us host. We are looking forward to launching these on a quarterly basis in 2016 and hope more of our local banks will join in the Neighborhood Spotlight process. 

On Tuesday, December 22, 2015, two hundred and sixteen residents from Park Shore Commons attended a holiday party thrown by 27 local volunteers from Miller Spotlight​, Miller Beach Arts & Creative District​, Miller Citizens Corporation (MCC)​, Miller Garden Club, St Mary of the Lake​, Marquette Park UMC​, and the MBA. It was great to see so many of our partnering organizations supporting this event. We are hoping to make this an annual engagement event.

Santa Clause himself even paid a special visit to Park Shore Commons Apartments​! Thanks to all those who donated food including the Miller K Market​. 

The Fort Wayne Mad Ants were also awesome in donating 200 toys to help Santa ensure that every kid that attended got a present. 

Also, local photographers made sure that each child also got a pic with Kris Kringle!

We had so many amazing volunteers that we even had enough food left over to donate a full meal to the residents at The Ark Shelter and to donate some extra gifts to Toys for Tots.

Our Miller Spotlight Safety and Code Enforcement Action Group goals, our Environment and Ecotourism Action Group Goals and our Property Improvement Action Group goals are all connected with the Park Shore Commons residents. The residents have agreed to join in our annual May MCC-sponsored Community Cleanup this year too!
We are looking to partner with all 4 of our large unit apartment complexes on these goals in 2016.
This past Saturday, 1/2/16, Cycle Miller Beach hosted a community Polar Bear Slow Roll. Many members of our Miller Spotlight Transportation and Infrastructure Action Group, as well as other Miller Spotlight volunteers, are part of the monthly Slow Rolls. 
Twenty-two riders of varying levels partook in the event. Showcasing a need for infrastructure improvements, while also enjoying our neighborhood’s natural wonders, this group is hoping to help Gary’s Miller Neighborhood become more universally designed. 

The group finished with food and beverages at 18th St. Brewery. Miller Spotlight volunteers were also able to get 11 bike racks funded for our community via a Legacy Foundation Grant. 

We will host a workshop for those who want to help install them this spring. Our local playground company, Kidstuff Playsystems, is creating the ADA compatible racks at their shop on Miller Ave. 
Stay tuned for the announcement of February’s Slow Roll.  

What’s Next???

The Miller Spotlight Property Improvement Action Group invites anyone who lives, works, studies, worships, or plays in Miller - to exercise their creativity and paint their visions of the gems and beauty within our community on doors. 

A door makes us wonder what lies beyond it. It can be inspiring, inviting, or even perplexing. The Miller Spotlight Property Improvement Action Group is hosting a fun, free, family-friendly workshop this Sunday, 1/10/16, from 1-5pm at the Marshall J. Gardner Center for the Arts. Located in the Miller Beach Arts and Creative District at 540 S. Lake St. Gary, IN 46403. 
Miller Spotlight volunteers and Wirt-Emerson VPA visual arts students designed our first four doors that are on display at the Marshall J. Gardner Center for the Arts. Please check them out. You can bring a door this Sunday to paint, or just bring yourself. We will have ample doors to decorate together as a community! All ages and skill levels are welcome to attend.
***This is a totally free event, but if you have a door you would like to donate, spare paint, brushes…Please feel free to bring them to the event or to contact our community builder, Jessie Renslow, via about coming to pickup an item. 

What was the Inspiration for this Project?

In the small Italian town of Valloria, where lush mountain foothills meet the sea, artists use the front doors of homes as canvases every summer. In the 1980s and 90s, a group of people from Valloria initiated an annual festival and door painting ritual to help breathe new life into the small town for which they felt so much pride. Today, people travel from a far to attend this festival and the town has new activity and recognition throughout the year.

In the small Gary, Indiana community of Miller Beach, where rolling sand dunes meet the lake, a diverse community of creative people thrives. These people are passionate about their unique community, committed to bringing wider opportunities to their neighborhood, and focused on sharing the unique natural setting and small-town charm with visitors from the region and beyond.

Perhaps these “Doors to Miller” may take us to a place and time not unlike the Italian town of Valloria, but with our own Northwest Indiana charm!

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