For the past three years, I have lived, worked and played in Downtown Indy. I lived in a one-bedroom apartment with views of the Downtown skyline, I worked for Downtown Indy, Inc. as the Communication Manager and I spent most of my free time (and money!) at Downtown restaurants, bars, parks, concert venues, yoga studios, museums and… well… pretty much name it, I have done it. This week is my last week working at Downtown Indy, Inc. But before I go, there are a few things I would like to share.
Downtown Indianapolis has experienced tremendous growth during the past decade – and the staff at Downtown Indy, Inc. sees no signs of slowing down. This year, the new Julia M. Carson Transit Center opened, one part of the multi-county transit vision for Central Indiana (termed “The Marion County Transit Plan”). With 21 fully electric buses, IndyGo has become one of the largest electric transit fleets in the country.
Just last December, we saw the opening of a brand new full-service downtown YMCA. The $24 million, 87,000-square-foot CityWay YMCA is pretty special. In addition to the standard YMCA amenities found across the country, the CityWay YMCA has an instructional kitchen, two environmentally friendly green roofs, an elevated running track and a living green wall.
And in the pipeline for future development, we will see the transformation of the former Coca-Cola bottling plant on Mass Ave. For 40 years, IPS used it as a bus garage. Thanks to a proposed deal from Wisconsin-based Hendricks Commercial Development, we could see the development of a huge Mass Ave mixed-use project complete with apartments, a hotel, retail, a day care and a dinner-movie theater.
In addition to the new Transit Center, the CityWay YMCA and the up-coming Coca Cola plant transformation, our city draws in visitors for our sports teams, cultural attractions (the world’s largest children’s museum!), art museums (the original LOVE sculpture resides at the IMA), concerts, conventions and beautiful green spaces.
But this success story doesn’t happen without a reason. There are some movers and shakers in this city who are working round-the-clock to create, cultivate and share Downtown’s success story: the folks at the Indy Chamber, who are committed to making Indianapolis the best place to do business; the team at Visit Indy, who promote Indianapolis to leisure travelers and bring in our biggest conventions; the staff at Indiana Sports Corp, who ensure our city hosts world-class sporting events; and so many more.
And of course, my own team, the crew at Downtown Indy, Inc. Excuse me while I #humblebrag for a moment, but this team deserves a few shout outs. Thanks to the efforts of Sherry, Bob, Tim, Brian, Jennifer, Bettye, Anne, Catherine, Erika, Courtney, Valerie, Charrie, Sarah and Josh (“the people behind the place”), Downtown Indy shines more than it ever has before. Besides being one of the cleanest, safest and most walkable Downtowns, our “cool factor” is at an all-time high. Earlier this year, Travel + Leisure named Indianapolis one of “America’s Favorite Cities” and Food & Wine magazine touted Indianapolis as the “rising star of the Midwest.” (No big deal at all).
Here are some of the things the team does that are bragworthy:
- Beautification. All those beautiful planters you walk by during the spring and summer months? Those planters (227 to be exact) are maintained by Downtown Indy, Inc. We also plant and maintain eight gardens and pocket parks, maintain the tree canopy Downtown and recruit hundreds of volunteers for plantings and neighborhood clean-ups. Our Beautification Director, Anne Maschmeyer, is on a personal mission to keep Downtown clean and beautiful and is not afraid to get her hands dirty. Literally.
- Safety. This team coordinates with IMPD’s bike and foot safety patrol to ensure our streets are safe. In 2015, Downtown Indy, Inc.’s bike and foot patrol offices made 3,924 visits to Downtown businesses. We also send weekly safety and traffic alerts to keep the public informed. Because of these efforts, plus a partnership with IMPD, the City, IFD and others, Downtown Indy is safe and people feel safe Downtown. Talk about serious street cred.
- Vibrancy. This is the team behind some of our city’s most vibrant events. Think: Circle of Lights, New Year’s Eve on Georgia Street, Workout Wednesday, Blarney Bash and more. We activate public spaces, earning our Downtown national accolades for our remarkable places and events. This organization markets and manages Georgia Street and the Canal Walk – two of Downtown’s top destinations. Our team is 100% behind the production of major civic events, from Final Fours to large scale conventions to holiday celebrations.
- Development. Our team helps recruit and retain businesses and developers. We expand the residential base through promoting liveability and Downtown neighborhoods. We conduct living tours so suburbanites can see just how much of a game-changer it is to live in the city.
Downtown Indy, Inc. is the only non-profit organization dedicated entirely to improving Downtown. We do this thanks to our members who support our mission through partnership fees and foundations who invest in us through service contracts and grants. Our team goes to work every single day with one mission in mind: to make Downtown a better place to live*, work, learn, play and do business. I couldn’t be more proud to have worked for this crazy amazing organization. High five, Downtown Indy, Inc.!
*Now, please promise me you will continue to push for a dog park for Downtown residents and our furry friends.