People who think of the birthplace of poet James Whitcomb Riley as the hinterlands probably haven’t driven there lately. From Greenfield to Monument Circle, it’s just 30 minutes—the same amount of time it takes to trek downtown from Zionsville, long considered an Indy ’burb. And there’s plenty going on in the city of 20,000 to keep prospective residents nearby. The hamburger highway on Greenfield’s outskirts isn’t going to win any awards, but the downtown area has character: a grand courthouse, tree-lined streets with historic homes, and an assortment of hip shops, local eateries, and homegrown businesses (including a craft brewery). Schools are top-notch (Greenfield Central High School offers programs in pre-engineering, biomedical science, and finance), fitting for an area once described as the “genius belt of Indiana” thanks to Riley and a few other luminaries. Historically, Greenfield was a train stop. And the rising home prices and amenities there today scream “all aboard.”
The Turning Point
It didn’t happen overnight, but Greenfield went from being a one-company town (Lilly has a lab there) to a city with opportunities in a number of sectors, including manufacturers that serve the automotive industry.
What’s Holding Things Back?
Perception. “We have wonderful schools and parks—and just about anything else you could want,” says Rita Fish, an agent for Century 21. “I just think we’re being overlooked.”
Chris Baggott, CEO of Tyner Pond Farm and The Mug, with a total investment of $5 million
“I was already living here and loved the small-town feel. That factored into starting Tyner Pond Farm. The land is relatively inexpensive, and the access to the Indy market is incredible. There’s no one who can touch how fast I can get my product there. Greenfield is a well-kept secret—kind of that last great place. It’s a blank slate now, but it won’t be for long.”
Who Lives Here?
Ray Steele, 43, married with two children, WIBC reporter
“We initially chose Greenfield out of convenience—it was between where I worked in Indy and where my wife works in Richmond. But the reputation of its schools, particularly how it handles kids on the autism spectrum (which includes my oldest daughter), certainly helped. I grew up in a small town, so it has felt like home since we landed.”
212 E. North St., 3 bedrooms, 2 baths
3605 N. Forest Lane, 4 bedrooms, 4 baths
4496 E. 100 North, 3 bedrooms, 5 baths
14 Percent Increase Since 2009
Average Home Price: $138,652