For the past two year’s, Eli Lilly & Co have been volunteering in community improvement activities that have had positive impacts. This year, they are partnering with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful (KIB) in an effort to help beautify the west side of Indianapolis along the I-70 corridor. Long has this stretch been one of industrial or run down nature. Lilly & KIB aim to change that this week. On Thursday october 7th, nearly 9000 volunteers will participate in a 12 hour marathon to improve a number of interstate interchanges from the Sam Jones expressway on the west side, to downtown at the project’s eastern-most point.
Lilly & KIB have partnered with local artists in an effort to transform each interchange into one of beauty. Various improvements from simply planting natural foliage, to erecting artwork in the form of totem poles will serve to transform this stretch of roadway into what organizers hope will be a gateway for visitors and residents, into the core of the region.
The project hasn’t come without it’s share of scrutiny. As with anything road related in this region, people tend to get boisterous when anyone messes with the usual commuting patterns. In that regard, I-70 will be closed from 6am-6pm that day. If you are a glutton for punishment and enjoy reading the comments section of any website, the local newspaper, The Indianapolis Star has had it’s share of detractors. Many people have offered the suggestion that organizers should have did this on a weekend… or not at all.”What’s the point?” some commenters have suggested.
The point is toÂ have some civic pride and take action. Others have suggested that the scale of the projectsÂ are too small toÂ produce the expected reaction.
Personally, I feel that Indianapolis has too great a number of people who simply don’t care about what happens around here so long as they have smoothÂ roads to drive on, bars to go to and the city isn’t taking their money. Too often, our landscape is left to depreciate while people simply go about their personal lives expecting that someone else is going to take up the staff and improve the city. In that regard, I applaud the thousands of people involved with this year’s Lilly day of service. I am very excited to see how this project turns out and will be taking a trip through after it’s completion to survey the improved landscape.
For more information about Lilly’s October 7th day of service, visit their website.
(Images Source: http://www.agreenerwelcome.org)