Indianapolis has pulled off a nearly-impossible task: hosting a Super Bowl in a cold weather city without a week-long barrage of complaints from sports journalists.Â A notoriously fickle bunch had glowing reviews, and left them wondering how we did it.Â That was a surprise to me, as my initial reaction when Indy won the rights to host the 2012 Super Bowl was one of dread of the potential for negative press.Â But the city shined, thanks in large part by excellent planning from the Host Committee.Â When combined with new amenities such as the Airport, the Cultural Trail, and, of course Georgia Street, we saw a potent mixture that left all but the largest curmudgeons impressed with the city’s efforts.
The natural inclination for the city is to now start to raising the game in other areas where we are severely lacking.Â We struggle with inadequate transit, crumbling neighborhoods that are losing residents, and a strained public education system.Â In order to truly be a great city, Indianapolis is going to have to improve in each of these areas.Â Â In keeping with the main focus of the blog, this post will focus on the first two of these.
After arriving downtown, most visitors were stuck there.Â The good news is that it was an exceedingly fun place to be.Â The bad news is, Indy’s neighborhoods were suffering due to the lack of business.Â Meanwhile, many people who wanted to visit downtown by bus were passed by, reading a message that read “Sorry, Bus Full”.Â This simply should not happen again.Â Best case scenario for our blog would be two streetcar lines: Broad Ripple to Downtown to Fountain Square, and Washington to Airport/Irvington.Â Because that seems far-fetched at this point, I hope that the city will be able to implement Bus Rapid transit along these corridors.Â Make them easy to use for first-time riders, and run them for longer intervals.
This city, like many others, has issues with abandoned buildings and resident retention, and it is a tricky problem to tackle.Â Fortunately, there can be inspirational creative reuses.Â One of my favorite projects in the city is Developer Town, which reinvested in a forlorn section of industrial buildings and built a tech-minded hub.Â Another intriguing reuse is the Indy Action BMX track, which is located in a former factory in the Near-East side.Â These are just a few examples of residents refusing to give up on a place just because the previous use is no longer needed.
The city should now have no excuses for not continuing improving upon our public assets.Â Â Indianapolis has proven that it is a can-do place.Â Â We’re going to need some help along the way (hello State Legislature).Â But ultimately, it’s time to make Indy an even better place for the future.