Dear VRA members,
Our village community wouldn’t exist without the people that have made it what it is today. In May – Arbor Day to be specific – Zionsville planted a memorial tree for Lana Funkhouser. If you haven’t been by town hall to see it, take a walk over there and think of all that our Village residents have done for the town.
This month we pay homage to other former members of the Village who have made a difference. If you haven’t already been, visit the SullivanMunce Cultural Center for a collection of Edie Mahaney’s paintings. Mahaney was instrumental in developing the Munce Art Center. Her paintings are paired with photographs by her son, Jackson Mahaney.
At the end of the month celebrate the life of Jean Apple. She started the Village Residents Association and was on the first board of Maplelawn Farmstead, where her recognition will be held.
Summer brings plenty of activities, including the Zionsville Farmers’ Market which continues through September. With a location back on the bricks it’s exciting to see it grow and see some new faces added to the vendors. Early hours are best for getting your pick of the produce and flowers, but extroverts will want to stop by later in the day when the crowds are thick and socializing is at its peak. Read about even more things to do in this month’s news.
While you’re out and about take a moment to honor those former Village residents who have made such great advances for our town. In their memory, please remember to stay kind to one another.
We have had a relatively light agenda as we start the summer months. There isn’t typically a seasonality to Council business except for the budgeting process that should start in July and be voted on in late October or early November.
One recent request that we had was to opt out of the lawsuits filed by the State against various entities that participated in the opioid epidemic that has spread throughout the country. Zionsville joined roughly half of other cities and counties in Indiana other communities about 4 years ago seeking to reclaim dollars that had been spent treating residents who had been impacted by their alleged accusations. We are a plaintiff, along with many other communities, in these lawsuits.
This past summer the State legislator passed legislation that made local communities choose to join with the State in their own lawsuits or pursue their own. They could not do both. In joining the State lawsuit, local communities would receive 15% of the proceeds for their own expenses while the State would retain 15% and the State Family and Social Services Administration would get 70% of the proceeds. Great for the State and FSSA, not so great for those local communities. The new law, signed by Governor Holcomb, gave communities until June 30th to opt-out or they would be considered a part of the State lawsuit.
Oftentimes we will look at what other communities in our area are doing in these types of matters to learn about their decision-making process. Recently both Fishers and Noblesville, as well as Indianapolis, have chosen to opt out, as have many others. There was also a recent Indianapolis Star article on this subject to read more background:
During the meeting the biggest question asked by Councilor Choi was what costs the Town would incur by continuing down our own path. There is concern from the Council about the amount of money being spent on a variety of legal issues and did not want to further add to those expenses if there was a cheaper path. The good news is that we are not paying for these lawsuits, rather they are being challenged on a contingency based on any outcomes that may be settled or any judgments rendered.
Given the lack of taxpayer expense for these lawsuits and the chance to recoup a much higher percentage of a verdict, the Council chose to opt-out of the State lawsuits by a unanimous vote. Should information change we do have 60 days to opt back in.
Town Council President – District 5 Representative
Jean Apple and Edie Mahaney
Two former village residents are being honored this month. Jean Apple will be honored at Maplelawn Farmstead on July 23 from 2 to 5 p.m. The works of Edie Mahaney and her son, Jackson, will be on display at the SullivanMunce Cultural Center through July 24.
Jean Apple was an original member of the Off-Main Street Players, former president Kiwanis, founding board member of Maplelawn and co-founder of the Village Residents Association. Jean moved to Maple Street and soon decided to start the VRA in 1996 to give people the same voice that she and neighbor Jean Phillippe witnessed in surrounding subdivisions. Jean once shared that Phillippe made it clear that she didn’t want to lead the VRA but simply wanted to help with the initial preparations.
“She said, ‘I want to facilitate,’” Jean said. “I always remember that word she used.” When the time came to appoint the association’s first president, Jean was the one to step forward. Twenty years later she looked back fondly on her early days in Zionsville. “I’m proud of what we created,” Jean said. Her work with the VRA led to an appointment to the Historic Preservation Advisory Group to the town council and later became a member of PZAZ, People of Zionsville for the Aesthetics of Zionsville. She was also president of the Zionsville Historical Society and a member of the Century Structure Committee. Beyond her volunteer accomplishments she raised four children and obtained a law degree at the age of 59. In 2017 the town council named July 17 “Jean Apple Day.” She moved to Southern California in July of that year and passed away in March of 2020. Artist Edie Mahaney was instrumental in developing the Munce Art Center before becoming the museum’s first executive director.
After moving to Zionsville in 1970 with her family, Edie volunteered with what was then known as the Patrick Henry Sullivan Museum Guild. There the opportunity presented itself to create an art center. With an MFA in-studio painting and a background at a historical museum in Columbus, “it just was a perfect fit,” said her son, Jackson Mahaney. “She had all of the expertise to make something like that work.” Under her leadership in the 1980s and ’90s, the genealogy library also was added. “That truly was because of her drive and commitment to create something that was living, not just a history museum,” said Jackson said, working closely with his mother during those decades teaching art and as director of the art center. It became a family affair, with husband Jack caring for the grounds and daughter Lolly assisting with fundraising. “It was definitely a part of her heart,” Lolly said. In the meantime Edie was a freelance artist in the studio and created commercial work for local businesses. Two decades later she began a new chapter, leaving SullivanMunce and returning to painting fulltime. Jack built a studio in the back yard and Lolly spearheaded the gallery and business. “She started right back in and didn’t miss a beat,” said Lolly, who began sharing her mother’s work through a licensing company. In 2013, several prints were produced by World Market and Z Gallerie. Seeing her art in a retail chain made her mother “giddy,” Lolly said. Edie passed away on November 8, 2017. Her art lives on in the SullivanMunce exhibit Flowers in the Family, with Edie’s paintings and Jackson’s photography.
More family-friendly summer fun
Explore the Hundred Acre Woods (sort of).
Newfields’ free outdoor area is 100 acres to explore. Families can follow paths around the lake and enjoy a picnic while observing the outdoor art displays. Climbing on the art is encouraged. The park is open dawn to dusk.
White River State Park
Beyond the zoo, the NCAA Museum, the Indiana State Museum and the Eiteljorg, there are plenty of other activities including the Canal Walk. Rent a four-wheel bicycle for the entire family and explore the 250 acres. Or rent a paddle boat and follow the canal from end to end.
Attend a concert
SullivanMunce art camps for ages 7-17 have openings in July. Visit https://www.sullivanmunce.org/youth.html
Plenty of parks
- Explore Turkey Run State Park. Traverse plenty of hiking trails through canyons and gulches.
- Play at Holliday Park. Playgrounds, a nature center, and plenty of trails. Take a picnic, bring pets, and enjoy the fresh air.
- Garfield Park’s conservatory and sunken garden are unique to local parks.
Shop and dine local
- Explore all the great shops on Main Street, then have a chocolate or ice cream snack, or grab lunch to go for a picnic in Lincoln Park.
Movies under the stars
- Sit outdoors and watch movies in September at Zionsville’s Maplelawn. Or earlier in the summer, watch at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. https://maplelawnfarmstead.org/events2/
Game night – and dinner out
- A family dinner out can also be combined with game night at Books and Brews. They have a pile of games for customer use, or look through the many books on shelves.