Monon 16 Memories

I recently had the privilege of discussing the history of this area with HCA artist William Rasdell and music intern Aine Montgomery. In this blog, Aine reflects on how her life coincides with places mentioned by Rasdell, as well as how Hip Hoperetta and Pre-Enactment will revive the downtown community. (Isabelle Matthies, editor)---

Kids run across the slippery grass while their parents and coaches cheer them on to early morning victory; the crack of dawn start to the Saturday soccer game gave no time for the dew to dissipate. The expansive turf of O’Bannon field, right off of 16th street and the Monon Trail, has hosted many youth soccer leagues and summer programs, in which I myself have participated. This is how I remember 16th street.


While interviewing HCA artist William Rasdell and hearing him speak about the Martindale-Brightwood area, my mind went back to my experience with this place. Personally, I never felt uneasy driving down 16th street to get to O’Bannon field; I was always too excited for my next soccer game or the chance to run across the wide open field. Remembering the neighborhood through the naive eyes of my childhood resembled Mr. Rasdell's stories of kids running to the bakery to take home leftover sweets and enjoying each other's company, all without a care in the world.


Through Pre-Enactment, the Harrison Center hopes to rejuvenate the carefree, thriving community which Mr. Rasdell remembers. Designed, “to break up communities and isolate [them],” the interstate is thought to be a major contributor to the downfall of this once connected and thriving inner city community. Pre-Enactment will encourage 16th Street to imagine what their community could look like and entertain hope for the revitalization of their neighborhood. Hip Hoperetta's goal is to bring cultural history to life through music. Inspired by Hamilton, Hip Hoperetta gives a new twist on enlightening people on their own pasts. This project uses personal stories, experiences, and research to provide a personal experience for each listeners. Light will be shed on the rich history of the neighborhoods and the view for the future. Innovation is exactly what the doctor had ordered for historic Martindale-Brightwood, and it's what the HCA hopes to provide. The interstate may have disconnected the community, but now it is now our job as neighbors to make the ties between areas stronger than ever. Kids will once again be able to run across O’Bannon when the dew had yet to dissolve. I am hopeful and confident that this area can only prosper from here.