Hello neighbors-


I hope we will all be enjoying balmy spring-like weather by the time you read this letter.


The next VRA meeting is scheduled for Tuesday April 15th.  I have invited the Zionsville Neighborhood Action Group to come and update us on the potential development in the village.  I will also update everyone on the Parking and Marketing Steering Group discussions.  Plus we will discuss the progress towards getting a village development/planning workshop scheduled with Randall Arendt sometime in June.


The VRA has agreed to sponsor the Lincoln Park Concert Series this year.  The VRA has again committed to $100 dollars out of our funds with the hope that we can generate another $400 of individual donations from VRA members, matching our $500 total donation from last year.  Anyone willing to give donations please contact Todd Rech (tcrech@ymail.com) or be prepared to donate at the April 15 meeting.  Please save me from the shame of not matching last year’s donation amount under Chris Bucher’s reign.


Be aware: There were items taken from several cars on and around March 16 in the village, and a couple vehicles have recently been stolen.  The ZPD did not confirm that anything was broken intohowever they were quick to point out that things were taken out of unlocked vehicles and the stolen vehicles were unlocked with the keys in them.  Please be diligent and refrain from leaving valuables in plain view and lock up your vehicles.  Also, watch out for yourselves and your neighbors by calling 911 to report any suspicious activity.  Trust your instincts; if something doesn’t seem right call the police.

The potential 20+ acre development along Eagle Creek seems to have stalled.  I have heard rumors that Buckingham, at a minimum, still controls the smaller parcel that made up the Citgo station.  Buckingham did respond to my inquiry by simply saying “we are re-evaluating options with no new information available at this time.”  The VRA is still excited about good and appropriate development at this important location in our historic village.    

The VRA has volunteered to assist the SullivanMunce Cultural Center by performing some light cleanup work on April 13th.   Time permitting we would like to accomplish the following: cleaning gutters; cleaning leaves off roof; cleaning light fixtures and caulking windows.  Please join the fun from 1pm-3pm and help us thank them for contributing to our quality of life in the village, in addition to allowing us to hold meetings at their facility.

Limb and Brush Day in the village is on April 21.  I have also been asked to mention that some trees in the right-of-ways along sidewalks may need trimming.  If you feel that trimming them yourself is beyond your capabilities, please notify the town of any problems and help us maintain the safe walk-ability of the village.


I am still interested in future VRA activity ideas.  We are considering a Century Structures discussion, a golf outing, a chicken coop tour and a charity softball game as some possibilities.  Please let me know if you have other ideas or interests.


I hope to see you April 15!


Scott Lusk


Zionsville Village ResidentsAssociation


Village News and Events

April 3rd Poetry on Brick Street

Poetry on Brick Street will present Marcus A. Hudson as its guest poet at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, April 3 at the SullivanMunce Cultural Center in Zionsville, 225 W. Hawthorne St. (photo attached)

Marcus A. Hudson is a professor of English at Wabash College. He has been a
professor of English at Wabash since 1987. Before that he taught at the University
of Wisconsin-Green Bay, and before that at the University of Washington in Seattle
during his graduate school years. “There are few pleasures greater than watching
young minds grapple with ideas, dig into them, and grow.” Marcus has also worked
as a staff writer and editor for an archaeology project on the Columbia Plateau and
as an editor for an urban planner. Before his academic career, he was a free-lance
writer and published articles in Audubon,Pacific Northwest magazine, Stepping Out
Northwest, Environmental Action, and Iceland Review.
He is co-director of the Environmental Concerns Committee at Wabash and a board
member of Friends of Sugar Creek, a local environmental group. He likes to get out into
the woods and be silent for awhile, just watching and listening. Or listen to music—the
Decemberists and Regina Spektor are favorite performers. Or hang out with friends or
continue a long, ongoing conversation with his wife over a good dinner and a glass of
Poetry on Brick Street is a project of Brick Street Poetry Inc., a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit that also publishes the Tipton Poetry Journal and hosts other poetry-related events. For more information, email board member Susan Miller at brickstreetpoetry@gmail.com

Incorporate Water Quality Into Your Spring Lawn Care Plans

Gavin Merriman, Stormwater Program Manager for the Town of ZIonsville, passed along the following to the ZIonsville HOA Roundtable:

“Attached is an article written by the Upper White River Watershed Alliance about how homeowners can incorporate water quality into their spring lawn care plans.  There is also some good information for homeowners on our website at the link below:” 


Looking for a Volunteer to Research a Neighborhood Social Network

There is a new private neighborhood social network called Nextdoor. They make a profit from selling ad space.  I have no firsthand experience with the network, I am not sure if it is appropriate and I am not advocating for it but thought it was interesting.  Here is a link to a video which aired on 20/20 last fall.  


You can also look it up on Wikipedia.

There is a local representative who is eager to get neighborhoods to sign up.   Please contact president@zvra.com if interested in researching this technology and/or speaking to the local representative.

Pull for the Parks April 26th

The VRA and Zionsville Parks and Recreation Department is preparing for its annual “Pull for the Parks” and is seeking volunteers to assist in removal of invasive Garlic Mustard from Creekside Park on Saturday, April 26th from 9-11AM. Experienced pullers may come earlier to get a head start. This is fun way to get off the trail and get to better know one of the Village’s favorite parks.

Interested folks are asked to provide any available time on that Saturday, April 26th to remove and bag the invasive plant, and coffee and donuts will be provided. Please meet in the Creekside Park parking lot on the South side of Sycamore St/116th St, just across from the entrance to Lions Park.

Long pants and long sleeves are encouraged, and trash bags will be provided. This event will be postponed in the case of serious rain/thunderstorms, but will be held if it is just drizzling. Please let us know you are coming by sending email to rsvp@zvra.com – Thanks!

If there are other times that you could help, or you work with another service organization that would like to participate in an invasive eradication program, please contact the Zionsville Parks Dept to coordinate that with them. 733-2273 or mdickey@zionsville-in.gov.

Boone County Senior Services announces spring Lunch and Learns on the Road and Theater Thursdays

Boone County Senior Services, Inc. (BCSSI) has planned two spring Lunch and Learns on the Road as follows:

Wednesday, April 23 – Wick’s Pie Factory Tour and Lunch (Winchester, IN) and Mystery Stop – $25/person            

Friday, May 9 – Rockome Gardens (Amish Village) Tour and Lunch – Arcola, IL – $35/person

Individuals age 60 and over are invited to come along on these adventures and to invite someone new to join in the fun!

For more information or to receive registration forms, call (765)482-5220 or (317)873-8939 or e-mail bcssi@booneseniors.org.

Theater Thursdays take place on the third Thursday each month and offer a special morning movie at the Lebanon 7 Theater, 1600 N. Lebanon Street just for those individuals 60 and over.  The cost for this activity is $1/person and includes a breakfast snack, along with the movie. The movie schedule is as follows:

April 17 – Instructions Not Included

May 15 – Admission

June 19 – Safe Haven

July 17 – Parental Guidance

August 21 – Quartet

September 18 – Labor Day

October 16 – Philomena

All movies are either rated PG or PG-13.  Guests are encouraged to research each movie on their own if they are concerned about the movie content.  The cinema is handicap-accessible and groups are welcome.

Boone County Senior Services, with offices in Lebanon and Zionsville, has been providing life sustaining and enriching services for older adults in Boone County since 1978.  Learn more at www.booneseniors.org

Start your Garden

by Delma Mindel

“First the howling blizzard woke us,

Then the rain came down to soak us,

And now before the eye can focus—-


 by Lilja Rogers


Today is March 16th and winter still holds us in its cold and icy hand.   The skies are grey, the air quite cool and we hope for spring. Trust spring to find us.  Peer closely at the ground and see the sprigs of green emerging, just barely poking their tender heads above the ground.  Trust spring to find us. 

Hankering, are you, to dig into the cold, wet dirt, to plant, to mulch, to fertilize?  Before you start digging, take a handful of soil and squeeze it.  If it forms a sticky ball, your soil is too wet to work.  If it crumbles readily, the soil is perfect.  Working soil too soon can cause hard clods that remain all season.  Dear reader, I am referring to the ground, not unwelcome visitors of the human variety.

·       Cool weather crops such as lettuce, radishes, spinach, and beets are hardy in the cool days ahead and an early start is fine.  Sow seeds in the garden as soon as nighttime temperatures remain above freezing. 

·       While plants are still dormant, remove dead wood and cut live (still green when you scrape the surface of the bark) branches back by a third.  Only cut back the shrubs that bloom on new wood. 

·       Want to rearrange your landscaping?  Transplant small deciduous trees and shrubs while they are still dormant.  As soon as the ground thaws, dig a large root ball and plant it in a more desirable spot at the same depth is grew before.

·       Sprinkle a balanced organic fertilizer or compost around perennials and roses before they sprout. 

·       Shear back ornamental grasses, such as Miscanthus, feather reedgrass, switchgrass, fescue, Japanese forest grass, little bluestem, etc. before new growth begins to emerge.  This is also a good time to divide clumps that have become too large or the centers have died out.


On another gardening note, the ZVRA Garden Club held its annual meeting at the home of Marianne and Guinn Doyle on March 8th.  At that time, the trowel of responsibility for keeping this agile gardening group in line was passed to Monique Schnable.  She will be keeping garden club members informed, focused and keenly interested in attending all future garden club outings.   The next Garden Club event will be Sunday, May 18th, 7pm. at the garden of Mike and Delma Mindel, 145 W. Walnut St. If you wish to receive the calendar of future events, please email Monique: fordmoniq@sbcglobal.net  and ask her to put your name on the list.

Old House Love

By Jennifer Gleissner Bucher

I live in an old home with a modern sensibility. I don’t have lace curtains. No oriental rugs lie on my floors. There are no paintings with gilded frames on the walls.

I have an Eames chair next to a craftsman secretary. Modern art hangs below traditional lighting. Old houses are adaptable that way.

And being adaptable is a good thing. The good news is this adaptability often wears off on the owners.

An old home teaches you to “go with the flow.” Instead of having a space for every possible function that may arise-like the baby shower of your third cousin who simply must invite everyone she ever knew-an old house knows its potential and will empower you to use your cunning and skill to pull together the resources to get it done.  An old house lover doesn’t shy away from a 100 guest party simply because they don’t have a great room*. Move some chairs and put a tablecloth over the desk and suddenly there is plenty of space.

An old house lover doesn’t see the limitations in not having a kitchen island or the lack of a walk-in closet-we delight in having spaces that are truly loved, used and lived in.

I’ve been in old homes that have dining rooms that moonlight as offices, guest rooms that hold craft supplies and mudrooms that serve as pantries. Old homes are rule breakers-so go ahead and tuck that Windsor chair under the Saarinen table.

East Bedroom

We debated which upstairs bedroom to use as our own. The East room had no wall space for the bed, but the West room was bright with 3 windows and it seemed a shame to waste on a place to sleep. Ultimately, we choose the East room and set about making it work.

At the time of purchase, the room had 2 mismatched closets. One was plaster and lath and the other appeared to be a 1980s addition. We planned to convert the unfinished attic attached to the upstairs bath into a walk-in closet (more on that later), so we decided to remove both closets in the bedroom. Removing the closets gave us wall space for the bed.


Carpet came up to reveal perfect old growth pine floors-which were refinished. A new ceiling was installed to replace the very rough textured one. Fortunately, the trim work was in good shape and was scraped and finished with oil-based paint


All the walls were painted with Sherwin Williams Pure White and a new ceiling fan was installed.

If you have a story of old house love you’d like to share, please send it to editor@zvra.com.

Of course, I am perfectly willing to continue the love with my home.

*Of course this doesn’t apply if you are Edith Wharton or an Astor, in which case you probably have several (truly) great rooms in your old gilded-age mansion.

Solar Power in The Village 

by Mervyn Cohen

Last Summer in a moment of inspiration Janet and I decided to explore the possibility of installing solar panels on the roof of our home on 520 West Cedar Street. We were made aware of solar panels after our church had received a grant and installed panels.

First steps were learning the language. What is a solar panel? What does it mean when it says a panel is rated at 250  watts? What is a microinvertor? We learned that four 250 watt panels will produce a maximum of 1 kilowatt hour of electricity each hour in bright sunlight. We learned that solar panels produce direct current electricity, which is converted to normal household alternating current by the  microinvertors. We also learned that panels must go on a south side of a house.

When the vendors came to give us quotes they climbed onto our roof with funny instruments. What were they doing? The instruments are programmed to show the path of the sun relative to our house for each day of the year. By mapping this path they were able to tell us that neighbors homes and street trees would be below the path of the sun and not block the sun’s rays from hitting our solar panels.

Our next step was to decide how many panels to install. We chose 32 panels. This decision obviously depends on the size of the roof, but other factors are important. Firstly one must determine ones annual electricity usage. One then aims to have panels that do not produce much more than half of predicted annual need. There is a good reason for this. On a sunny day the panels produce more electricity than one is using. What happens to this electricity? Ah, it actually goes into the national electricity grid. Duke installed a new meter on our house. The wheel spins forward as we use lots of electricity. When the panels are producing excess electricity the meter actually spins backwards. Anyone with an interest is invited round to our house on a sunny day to watch the meter spin backwards. It is fun!!  At night or on cloudy days on recovers the electricity back from the grid. Over a year if one produces more electricity than one uses, the excess just goes into the grid, but Duke does not pay you for it.

Anyway last August our 32 panels were installed. We now make just under half of our annual need. It’s so easy. Everything is automatic and there is no maintenance. I have an app on my phone and I can login at any time to see the real time rate of electricity production and also the solar panel production over any prior number of days

We get a graph from Duke which is attached. You can see that the yellow graph showing the monthly net amount of electricity we purchase from Duke has fallen greatly since we went live last August.

We are happy to chat and show the system to anyone interested in learning more.

 Mervyn and Janet Cohen

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