A competition that could influence the future look and use of Monument Circle was unveiled Wednesday morning by a partnership that includes the city of Indianapolis and the state of Indiana.
The Monument Circle Idea Competition is expected to generate ideas regarding the “future design as well as ideas about programming, land use and activities” in the four-block area in the center of Indianapolis.
The competition is open to “all interested entrants” who pay the $30 entry fee. A panel of judges will award a first prize of $5,000, second prize of $2,000 and third prize of $1,000 to the winning entries. Entries will be accepted through April 15. Organizers say they encourage entries from individuals, teams, professionals, students and artists.
The top submissions will be displayed in an exhibit on Monument Circle from June 17-26. A “People’s Choice” award of $1,000 will be made at the conclusion of the exhibition. Prize money will be raised through private donations.
Organizers say the “open ideas” competition was sparked when Indianapolis hosted the CEOs for Cities Livability Challenge last October.
“The visiting national experts echoed what so many local leaders have expressed … Monument Circle is extraordinary and merits maximum attention, creativity and vision," said Brian Payne, president of Central Indiana Community Foundation, in a prepared statement. “These experts challenged Indianapolis to host the Monument Circle Idea Competition.”
A similar competition in 2008 raised ideas for the Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, N.Y.
CICF is a co-partner of the competition, along with Indianapolis Downtown Inc., which will oversee the project.
Ideas generated by the contest may be considered by planners already working on the future of the Circle. The Indianapolis Department of Public Works has retained the team of local design firms Woolpert Inc., Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf Architects Inc. and Eden Collaborative to conduct a “scoping study” that will “prepare and maximize Monument Circle for the next 20-30 years.”
The state owns and manages the Indiana Soldiers and Sailors Monument, the centerpiece of Monument Circle, but the city owns and is responsible for the streets, sidewalks and alleys surrounding the monument.
City and state leaders have long discussed different ways to best use the iconic, but often under-utilized, area. A controversial plan proposed in 2008 that would have closed the Circle to vehicle traffic drew heavy criticism.
More information is available on the competition's website. Entering the competition is a fairly involved process. Organizers say they will also welcome suggestions from people who aren't interesting in entering the formal competition.