NOTE: Last night, the Indianapolis City-County Council voted down a proposal that would have created the Mile Square Economic Improvement District. Although we delivered a successful petition to the Council – more than once – there was not enough support to pass the ordinance. We appreciate local leadership who championed this lengthy and important effort and we look forward to debriefing with them soon. In the meantime, we are releasing the following statement to the media. We especially thank our board members and Councillors Jeff Miller and Vop Osili for their leadership and supportive stance, along with Councillor Zach Adamson – all three co-sponsored and voted favorably for the proposal. Thank you Vop, Jeff and Zach.
We are extremely disappointed that the Mile Square Economic Improvement District proposal is not going forward for the betterment of Downtown. Downtown is the economic engine for Indianapolis: Although the Downtown Mile Square represents only 1 percent of the total land mass of Marion County, it generates 11 percent of the County’s property tax revenue. Downtown is currently experiencing incredible demand:
· Since 2010, the number of Downtown workers has jumped by 24 percent (U.S. Census Bureau)
· Since 2010, the number of convention delegates visiting Downtown each year has increased by 36 percent (Visit Indy)
· Since 2010, the number of Downtown residents will have doubled by 2020 from 17,000 to an estimated 35,000 (Downtown Indy, Inc.)
Yet – the perception of Downtown’s cleanliness and safety has declined by 29.2 percent since 2010. Clearly, if the Downtown momentum isn’t sustained, it will ultimately have a direct impact on the entire city, region and state.
We believe that the failure of the Indianapolis City-County Council to pass the EID is directly a result of detractors, such as the Indiana Apartment Association. They were against this process from the beginning yet never offered any productive solutions even after being invited to do so multiple times. However, in the end, we are proud to have submitted a successful petition with majority support from Mile Square property owners to the Council despite the opposition. The majority of residential property owners and many commercial property owners in the Mile Square were willing to dig into their own pockets to protect their investment – for the benefit of the entire city – with a plan that would have generated $3 million annually for Mile Square cleanliness, beautification, panhandling mitigation and increased safety and security. We thank those property owners who saw the bigger picture for a better Downtown.
What hasn’t changed by last night’s Council’s vote, however, is our advocacy for Downtown. Additionally, the challenges and decay facing our Downtown remain. We believe that complacency and celebration of status quo are never hallmarks for a successful city. An EID represented a best practice successfully employed in 1,100 other districts across the county. So, as advocates for Downtown, we call upon those who played a role in defeating the EID or detracting from it to join us in a coalition with City leadership to find solutions that will enhance and advance Downtown’s cleanliness, safety and vibrancy. Our city and region rely on the strength and vitality of Downtown Indianapolis. Let’s get to work.
About Downtown Indy, Inc.
Founded in 1993, Downtown Indy, Inc. is a private, not-for-profit organization uniquely positioned to address issues that affect the area’s growth and well-being. Downtown Indy, Inc. focuses on the development, management, activation and marketing of Downtown to make it a great place to live, learn, work and play.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The above statement can be used in part or in whole as a quote attributed to Sherry Seiwert, DII president and CEO