Bush Stadium's uncertain future

September 17, 2007
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Bush StadiumWhat should be done with Beautiful Bush Stadium? The city has ordered appraisals of the historic ballpark as a first step toward eventual reuse or demolition. The Indianapolis Indians played in the West 16th Street stadium until 1996, when they moved to Victory Field. After that, the ballpark briefly served as home to a midget-car racetrack. The 76-year-old stadium now is owned by the city's parks department and is overgrown with weeds. To read more, check out the full story from this week's IBJ print edition. Photos
  • They had better not tear this lovely yet historical ballpark for a number of reasons!

    For one, there are PLENTY of vacant lots and/or parking lots within the vicinity of the High Tech Zone or whatever it's called. For crying out loud, why don't they develop those first? Secondly, this is a lovely and historical ballpark & piece of history. We simply cannot afford to lose yet another landmark! We must spruce this park up & develop it into something everybody can be proud of! Apartments in a ballpark anybody? Nice idea i would think. :)
  • I hope they keep this and don't demolish this architecturally cool building!!!!
  • I hope they keep this and don't demolish this architecturally cool building and amazing property!!!!
  • Several of the city's Catholic high schools lack their own football stadiums...how about an adaptive re-use as a high-school football, soccer, and lacrosse facility (and music/festival venue in summer)?
  • My understanding is that the ballpark has a lead paint and asbestos abatement problem. I'm not sure that it is ecomically feasible to save this ball park. Keeping a structure around simply because it is old does not make sense unless it can serve a real function. If it could serve as a performance space in the summer time that would be one thing but to just let it sit there and fall down is another. The problems with using it now are the abatement problems , the cost to fix it, and parking. Fix the abatement problems and it could be saved.
  • I think this is a perfect reuse site. It is right along some prime property overlooking the river. If it were to be re-used with the main facade or major component of the windows facing the river, it could be a revitalization point from that point on the river south to the Washington Street Bridge. Yes our river sucks, smells and is dirty, but if there is interest in developing it, groups will come forward to help clean it.
  • One of the main reasons the Indians left this facility is because it was going to cost a fortune to renovate and bring up to code. I think it would be fiscally impossible to renovate this place as a sports facility.

    I for one would love to see them preserve as much of the facade as possible and incorporate it into any new structure on the site. (i.e. Circle Center)
  • Please, not another facade-ectomy.....I'd rather see the whole thing gone than see the facade live on as the front wall of a lifestyle center or condo development.

    I wonder why they didn't tap an architect to do the feasibility study? Someone with a historic structures specialty (that's not what I do, FYI)?
  • Back in January, I brought up the thought that something needs to be done with Bush before the city demolishes it by neglect. I suggest a combo soccer/concert venue, a first housing an expanded IUPUI Soccer Program, then someday bringing back professional soccer.
    An IUPUI baseball/softball stadium would be good too. CDC Guy is on the right page too.
  • Jason266 -- Isn't there already a soccer stadium directly across the street from Bush? Or are you suggesting an expansion of that soccer facility?
  • Whoops, sorry Jason! Looks like you mention that specifically on your blog.
  • Wow, this one is a really tough call! It would be a shame to demo the art deco exterior, but at the same time fitting a different development in a way that would preserve it (facade-ectomy as liberty bell brilliantly refered to it) may not be feasible either. Furthermore, using the building as a sports facility for highschools probably isn't feasible either as this would not generate enough money to maintain it, much less bring it up to code.

    Honestly, sorry liberty bell, I think the facade-ectomy may be the best option. If they get a really good architect to pull it off well, I think it could be pretty cool. However, I wouldn't put my money on it. I can just picture a sparkling new life-sciences building with the former facade of Bush Stadium slapped on it.

    Fortunately, I don't consider myself a visionary by any means...maybe they'll find someone who really has a creative idea of how to preserve it while still making good use of the land.
  • Turn it into the next Pan Am Plaza for the Skating Rinks, or hold off on antyhing and use some of the private funds that were going to be used for the 2011 super bowl for a multipurpose sports facility that IUPUI would then later use and use that mponey to renovate this facility for the 2012 Super Bowl when we get it or 2013. We will have a Super Bowl one of those years/i'm sure of it!
  • Haha thanks for the brilliant ianeck but I didn't coin that phrase - it's been floating about in architecture circles for years.

    On the other hand, if, as Mark suggests, a new sports venue could be built utilizing the existing facade, that might be OK. It's less disrespectful than turning it into condos!
  • This is a very unique structure to the Indinapolis area. I know it has its problems but I dont think they are a death sentence for the structure. I think downtown Indianapolis could use a Great Times kind of deal. I think it would be awsome to have a recreational playground with attractions like go-carts, bumper boats, putt-putt, batting cages, roller skating, arcades, laser tagging, paint ball, etc. The site is close to downtown and IUPUI. I am a 19 year old college student at IUPUI and trust me there are not too many entertainment options. I would hate to see the stadium get torn down to build a parking lot.
  • It is ridiculous to hold onto the past and try to save this stadium. Instead, incorporate some of the historic structure into a new building that brings jobs and investment to Indy - and makes a $0 tax generating property into one that lowers our property taxes!
  • A big problem without a solution. I loved going to baseball games there and went when it was a race track (how many other posters can say that?)

    This property should not be in the hands of the Parks Dept., who cannot even afford to keep the grass cut at Holiday Park.

    Yes, I think three Catholic high schools lack stadiums: Cathedral, Bishop Chatard, and RItter. However, the first two are paying rent to IPS, who needs the $$, and none of them, nor all three combined, OK, the entire Archdiocese could not afford the upkeep on Bush Stadium.

    We have a city that has a crime problem and is strapped for cash. This property will need some very deep pockets, and that still doesn't solve the crappy location, which is another reason why the Indians moved.
  • I say, before we do anything to the Bush Stadium, we must first De-Bush it... it is looking a little over-ran by Bushes and weeds.

    This is of course that we will be using it as a School dome. Here is the question? Who will pay for the renovations if this were to happen for these schools? The Public? I don't think that anyone wants to pay more taxes right now (at least in Marion County). The families of the students? Raise tuition or have fund-raisers, then later charge a nice fee to get in to help pay for the Renovations. Have students from the schools that would participate in using the location help in the renovation? The cost will help lower the over all price as well as give the students something to be proud of.

    I am not sure what exactly would be best for the stadium. But I do support having several schools use the stadium. I hope that someone will take my comments into consideration and run with my ideas. I would really love to see this Indianapolis Treasure come back to life and bring breath pride into this part of town.
  • Just to clarify, I was thinking of football. Both BCHS and Cathedral have baseball facilities and the state finals are held at Victory Field.

    These student athletes love opportunities to play up a level and practice or play where the Colts and Indians do. Not sure how romantic it would be for the youngsters to play in a location that most of them never even enjoyed as a spectator.
  • One idea would be to connect it to White River State Park by extending the existing trail that now ends at IUPUI north across Fall Creek and to the stadium. It is not a great distance. Then as mentioned, turn the field into a multi use facility. I am not sure how well a soccer or football field would fit and what the sightlines would be, but some athletic use would be good. As mentioned, it could be part of an athletic/gym perk for the Bio park to be built there. Include a running track etc.... Couple it with a museum or other cultural attraction. If the African American History Museum is still in the making, have them build here instead of White River Park. this would be a great opportunity to show a huge piece of Black history.

    Barring any use like that, I wonder of the feasibility of building a building within the walls. Take out the seating, leave the outer walls all the way around and build the research center or whatever. use the historic outfield walls to make a courtyard as well.

    Any reuse is going to take Federal, State and local funding.
  • The building should most-definitely be saved (I say this without much of a clue on funding, I know). What about re-configuring it for use as a tennis facility for the RCA Championships (if that's what they're still called). I remember when Pedigo was going to build a new tennis stadium/hockey arena and demolish the current facility. This could be a cool venue with all of it's history. It could spur additional development with practice courts, meeting facilities, etc. And, of course it's proximity to the river could be emphasized. May sound crazy, just throwing it out there...
  • The White River Trail already exists from Downtown to Riverside Park.

    It runs right past the stadium (across Waterway Blvd.) and there is already a bridge across Fall Creek (near IU Med Center and the VA Hospital along 10th St.). So the stadium is better connected to IUPUI by foot or by bike than by car.
  • How long before IUPUI adds football and needs a place to play? What about Marian College...they just added football.

    The existing IUPUI track and field stadium doesn't have much room on the visitor side (along New York St.) for more stands, and would have to be rebuilt to accommodate locker rooms.
  • This presentation about the Biocrossroads initiative is getting a little old, but it's a must-view for understanding the long-term goals the city has for the area around Bush Stadium:

  • I don't know what best fits there, but whoever and whatever goes there is going to need really deep pockets. The asbestos issue is a major one for venerable ol' Bush Stadium. It would be nice to be able to save the facade, but I'm not sure it's going to be practical. It'll be interesting to see whatever is proposed.
  • The problem with trying to convert the facility to another sport other than baseball is the site lines from the seats. It would not work well as a football stadium unless moveable seats were added.

    Marian College is already building a stadium. So they are out, and I doubt IU and Purdue will let IUPUI have a football team anytime soon. They were resistant to letting them have a division 1 basketball team.

    Where does the trail connect across Fall Creek. I walk that stretch quite often and always assumed it dead ended at 10th. Is there signage that I am missing? My dogs will be quite happy if there is even more area to explore.

    Asbestos and lead should not be extremely bad to remediate on the stadium, since most of it is readily accessible and probably has mostly fallen off.
  • rush4ever -- the trail crosses Fall Creek right by the VA Hospital (hard to be more exact, as it crosses in front of all the surface parking lots on 10th St.).
  • rush4ever, the trail runs along the river up to 10th, then you have to follow the sidewalk on the south side of 10th past the VA Hospital to the first light east, then cross 10th. The trail continues on the north side of 10th to the bridge across Fall Creek.
  • The Indianapolis Tennis Center is on its last legs. Why not use elements of the Owen J. (Donie) Bush Stadium in making a new tennis center?
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