2018 has been my favorite year of the past ten that I’ve spent living in Downtown Indianapolis. Being an active participant in this neighborhood; living, working, playing and watching my son engage has only gotten better with time.

Tis the season to be thankful, so let me count the ways.

1. New options

Whole Foods opening blocks from my office, (with free parking!) is definitely at the top of my list. The hot bar during lunch and dinner has been a delicious saving grace added to our routine. Market East, the district that Whole Foods anchors also welcomed a new public plaza and City Market continues to up it’s game. Gomez, Circle City Soups, Tomlinson Tap and Twenty Two Juice are still high on the list of go-to’s.  Still to come in early 2019 is the latest installation of Public Greens, located on the corner of New Jersey and Market.

2. Playtime

Next up is the Colts Canal Playground. This is the first public space in the Mile Square designed with kids, of all sizes, as the primary user. The location is ideally situated between the USS Indianapolis and and St. Clair street, it’s ADA accessible and will attract residents and tourists alike. This is a big win for families and I couldn’t be more thrilled. My kiddo will grow up exploring new ways to interact with this structure and the surrounding Canal assets.

3. St’Art Up 317

A new program we (Downtown Indy, Inc and PATTERN) piloted in May 2018 produced 18 unique art installations and pop up shops in Downtown. St’Art Up 317 partnered commercial real estate owners with small businesses and artists to produce interactive and unique activations. This program was a success and we are eager to get working on our 2019 edition.

4. The future of IPS

Thank you to my neighbors for voting to pass the IPS Referendum. My son’s future teachers will be making more and that has been a very long time coming. Thank you also to Dr. Ferebee, I wish you well in Washington D.C. A heartfelt congratulations to the interim director of IPS, Alessia Johnson; thank you for stepping up to lead up city’s young minds.

5. Rethink 65/70

It was announced in 2018 that the I-65/I-70 inner highway loop in Downtown Indianapolis is nearing the end of its life space and must be rebuilt from the ground up. What an amazing opportunity to connect and protect our Downtown neighborhoods. Thank you to the members of the Rethink 65/70 group who have proposed an alternative plan that could accommodate 10 million square feet of residential, office and park development, supporting over 3,000 new residential units and over 22,000 jobs. That sort of boost to the Center Township tax base should not be overlooked.

6. Landscape-changing projects

We also celebrated a few monumentous groundbreakings for transformative projects that will continue to push the boundaries of Downtown. The new Criminal Justice Center in the Twin Aire, Bottleworks on Mass Ave, and 16 Tech on the near northwest side equal hundreds of millions in investment and will be transformative in their own right. Waterside is the project to watch in 2019. A major expansion of the Pacer’s bikeshare and Red Line construction is underway.

So there you have it. 2018, you impressed and delighted.

2019, the bar has been set. I’m confident you’ll deliver.

Catherine Esselman

Catherine Esselman