The Big Family In Herron-Morton

A family plays backyard basketball.
A basketball court, downtown? This family of six doesn’t sacrifice backyard living for their urban location.

Tony Valainis

Amy and Kevin Hern never lived in the suburbs with their four kids—they never had to. They first moved to Herron-Morton in 2004. Then they came and went for Kevin’s job at Eli Lilly and Company, returning to the same block to rent. When it was time to plant roots with four kids, they decided to stay put and reverse-commute for amenities they couldn’t find downtown. Other than youth club sports, there haven’t been any.

Life in their fourth home on New Jersey Street looks a lot like it might if they lived in Meridian-Kessler. Their brand-new five-bedroom house, built by The Re-Development Group, sits in the corner of a double lot, leaving a side yard big enough for volleyball games, football scrimmages, a trampoline, and a basketball court. Mature trees, characteristic of the neighborhood, sit on the property. The kids, ages 10 to 17, used to climb one to watch construction of a house next door. It struck Kevin that he never saw concrete poured when he grew up in the suburbs. “There’s opportunity for life learning all around,” says Amy, who routinely bikes with the kids to The Children’s Museum, the Indiana State Museum, and the Indianapolis Zoo.

A life lesson happened when one son finished eighth grade—he and his five best friends from the nearby Oaks Academy went to six different high schools. “He was sad,” Amy says, “but it kind of gives them an idea of what college will look like a little earlier. You adapt.”

[sidenote position=”left” credit=””]
Builder The Re-Development Group
Parking Detached garages are common
Price Around $200,000 per lot[/sidenote]The Hern children have plenty of friends their age in the neighborhood. They often meet up with the gang at Herron-Morton Park, a block from home, and ride their bikes to the YMCA at City Market or walk for frozen yogurt on Mass Ave. Their church, a few blocks away, is attached to the Harrison Center, perfect for the Hern kid who’s into art.

The community has grown by leaps and bounds since the Herns first arrived 15 years ago. Back then, Kevin hardly saw anybody on his drive home from work. Now the city is bustling seven days a week, and the population has surged—meaning more relationships that can form, more merchants moving in. Most businesses are family-friendly, but kids aren’t allowed at tiny Tinker Street. The Herns explained to their brood that a restaurant with 80 seats can’t afford to sell $5 kids meals—their first economics lesson, perhaps.

What’s one of your favorite neighborhood activities? Oktoberfest. It draws thousands. What do you commute for? Soccer games at Grand Park in Westfield. What issues do your friends wonder about? Schools, safety, and green-space. People think they wouldn’t have enough nature downtown.