City: $60 million needed for Monument Circle overhaul

August 16, 2013
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Redesigning Monument Circle to make the local landmark and the streets intersecting it more pedestrian-friendly could cost $60 million, the city of Indianapolis announced Friday morning.

The project would entail reconstruction of the brick-paved Circle and adjacent blocks along Meridian Street and Market Street. Meridian would be improved from Washington Street to Ohio Street, and Market Street would be upgraded from Alabama Street to Capitol Avenue.

The design phase could start by the end of the year and would last through 2015, with construction starting in 2016. Construction, however, is predicated on funding, which would come from federal, state and city dollars, in addition to private donations.

“We really want to get more people on the Circle,” project manager Cynthia Bowen said. “It is the largest public space in the city of Indianapolis.”

The project would involve total reconstruction of curbs, sidewalks, driving lanes, parking lanes  and subsurface infrastructure. In addition, the city hopes to make the area more pedestrian-friendly by possibly adding green space and signage.

The city said a reconstruction is necessary because for years it’s been spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on maintenance that doesn’t address a long-term solution. Much of the infrastructure is in a state of disrepair and more than 30 years old.    

“To address failing brick work, a deteriorating concrete base and aging utility infrastructure, a complete reconstruction is needed,” the city said in its written materials.

The Circle dates back at least as far as 1821, when it was included in the Plat of the Town of Indianapolis. It surrounded the intended site of the governor's house, according to "The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis." The Soldiers and Sailors Monument was erected between 1888 and 1901.

  • Too Bad.
    The jock sniffers need that money to chase after Super Bowls and Cricket Stadiums that we don't need. Now you know how the arts community feels...takes a proctologist to find Greg Ballard's priorities these days.
  • Largest Public Space?
    “It is the largest public space in the city of Indianapolis.” It is? I thought Eagle Creek Park was?
  • Largest Public Space?
    “It is the largest public space in the city of Indianapolis.” It is? I thought Eagle Creek Park was?
    • Largest public space
      Yeah...not sure where THAT comment comes from. The American Legion Mall just north of the circle has it beat by a fair amount in size...
      Monument Circle is certainly the iconic center of our city. It is historic and pleasing. It also is at least partially the responsibility of the state as part of the Indiana World War Memorial Commission and has been the subject of at least two renovations in my lifetime. From bricking the streets to having Miss Liberty (Indiana) removed and gussied up, the Circle has received a lot of attention not to mention being the top place for select events to happen. I remember volunteering many years for the Circlefest, Midsummer Fest, and attending everything from Strawberry Festivals to the Millenium Celebration (even though it was held a year early) and the Cirle's own 100th birthday. I volunteered for the City Center for 24 years and was an enthusiastic booster of the city and particularly the downtown for many years. I agree it should be kept up. But I can't help being envious when I see more public money go to downtown projects while much of the outlying areas (and I mean major thoroughfares, not side streets) still don't hve their first walkable sidewalk or other niceties like crosswalks, shoulders, safe clean and clear walkways bordering high speed traffic, etc. I've personally worked with many organizations to find dollars to construct sidewalks (only to learn this week that the north and east sides will again get priority) along the Historic National Road, to no avail. When will the westside and the rest of the places that make up our hometown be blessed. I can only dream what we could do with $60 million dollars to rescue a still viable commercial corridor that needs traffic calming, redevelopment and support from every stakeholder involved.
    • More Pedestrian Friendly?
      Ha! Market Street and the Circle are two of the MOST pedestrian friendly streets in the entire city, why are they billing it as more is needed? If the local media had done their homework, we may also have access to the $1/3 to $1/2 million study-plan done a couple of years back that the City has sat on with no public release. If we the public could see that plan, maybe we could understand what surprises for redoing the space may exist? Since it will be the same-old, same-old designers that have done much of everything downtown, and around, since the Peterson Administration, I guess we'll get the same-old, same-old trite solutions?
    • Brick
      As long as the circle and the spokes remain a high end brick, I am for this 110%. It would be nice to have four entry markers as you get close to the circle. Something stamped into the brick or 30-40 foot metal art entry points with monument circle historic district stamped on it, would be nice.
      • The City
        It is soooo Funny every time i hear about how the 'CITY' is gong to fix up Monument Circle. somebody needs to tell 'Cynthia Bowen' and 'THE CITY' it's State Property all the way out to the outer curb line. so they need to get the state to sign off on it. 'Good luck' IT'S STATE PROPERTY,you should re-read the Plat map again Cynthia.
        • No more brick.
          The design I've seen does away with all red brick and replaces it with a neutral concrete colored granite. Too bad, because the dark red existing brick is a nice contrast to our indigenous limestone. If every surface is a different shade of gray we will have lost something.
          • Deago is right
            If the color chosen for the driving section is light, it will be a poor choice. First as mentioned it will have no contrast with the sidewalk, and two it will show all the leaking oil and stains from vehicle discharge. Think of aerial shots of the city, without a contrast of dark and light materials. It will be blah. This needs changed if this is true.
          • Georgia Street Part II
            Didn't Indy spend a bunch of money to redo Georgia street so that it was this grand pedestrian oasis? Result, crickets and tumbleweeds (and it was so packed during the Superbowl, the previous wide open, normal street would've worked a lot better anyway). Pan Am plaza is wide open and all brick, crickets and tumbleweeds. Repaving and changing the sidewalks isn't going to get me to come from the suburbs to visit. What will? More police officers so I don't get shot in a drive way on Spring Mill (this morning) or are in an armed robbery at the gas station on the way downtown. Ballard needs to stop playing Mayor Brainard from Carmel and get his priorities straight. Now if only I could find a good place to play Cricket.....
          • City's priorities are mixed up.
            Truly stupid project. How much more money are we going to pour into things like this when IMPD admits we're short 700 police? Mayor Ballard, I'm sorry I voted for you. I won't make that mistake again.
          • Wow!
            The ignorance on display in some of these posts is astounding! This project is absolutely justified. I would assume from the comments here that several of you rarely, if ever, actually make it to downtown and have very little clue about an urban environment. To "The Burbs": Please, stay there! Or, you might want to actually check out Georgia St. on any Friday night during the summer, whenever there is Pacers game or tournament in town... its hardly the forlorn place you make it out to be. To "Fuzzy": Nevermind..... The circle, even if not the largest public space in the city, is certainly the most high profile. In fact, Monument Circle was recently named one of the great public spaces of the entire country. Anyone who would dismiss the need for this investment is simply out of touch.
          • Yes, The City
            The state only takes responsibility for the Monument and its fountains. Who do you think installed the bricks on the Circle in the first place and spends hundreds of thousands of dollars a year maintaining them? Answer: The City of Indianapolis. You can type in caps all you like, but you don't have a clue what you are writing about.
          • fix it!
            the state should pay the bill for the fix.
          • Preserve the memorial bricks
            It seems like whenever there is a national media broadcast of an event in Indianapolis, they always show some shots of the Circle. It is a unique identifying feature of Indianapolis and it is going to continue to project the image for Indianapolis it needs to maintained. When the brick pavers were installed on Market Street, people were given the opportunity to purchase an inscribed memorial brick. I, as many others did, purchased one of these bricks with the understanding that the brick would memorialize the forefather of Indianapolis I designated, for many years into the future. I hope the renovation plans will include a way to preserve these memorials.

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          1. I never thought I'd see the day when a Republican Mayor would lead the charge in attempting to raise every tax we have to pay. Now it's income taxes and property taxes that Ballard wants to increase. And to pay for a pre-K program? Many studies have shown that pre-K offer no long-term educational benefits whatsoever. And Ballard is pitching it as a way of fighting crime? Who is he kidding? It's about government provided day care. It's a shame that we elected a Republican who has turned out to be a huge big spending, big taxing, big borrowing liberal Democrat.

          2. Why do we blame the unions? They did not create the 11 different school districts that are the root of the problem.

          3. I was just watching an AOW race from cleveland in addition to the 65K for the race, there were more people in boats watching that race from the lake than were IndyCar fans watching the 2014 IndyCar season finale in the Fontana grandstands. Just sayin...That's some resurgence modern IndyCar has going. Almost profitable, nobody in the grandstands and TV ratings dropping 61% at some tracks in the series. Business model..."CRAZY" as said by a NASCAR track general manager. Yup, this thing is purring like a cat! Sponsors...send them your cash, pronto!!! LOL, not a chance.

          4. I'm sure Indiana is paradise for the wealthy and affluent, but what about the rest of us? Over the last 40 years, conservatives and the business elite have run this country (and state)into the ground. The pendulum will swing back as more moderate voters get tired of Reaganomics and regressive social policies. Add to that the wave of minority voters coming up in the next 10 to 15 years and things will get better. unfortunately we have to suffer through 10 more years of gerrymandered districts and dispropionate representation.

          5. Funny people telling poor people how bad the other rich people are wanting to cut benefits/school etc and that they should vote for those rich people that just did it. Just saying..............