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City hires project manager for international district improvements

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The city is moving forward with a plan to enhance a growing international district near West 38th Street and Lafayette Road with features such as landscaping, monuments and murals.

Indianapolis-based engineering and consulting firm R.W. Armstrong has been selected as project manager for the beautification effort. On March 5, the city was to hold its first public meeting to solicit input from area residents and businesses about their priorities for improving the area.

OTB government map
The former retail hotbed anchored by Lafayette Square Mall has seen its share of vacant storefronts the last 20 years, but the area has benefited recently from an influx of international restaurants and other small businesses. The progress was noted in a story in The New York Times Feb. 23. Despite the resurgence, efforts to brand it as an international district have been slow.

The enhancement projects—seen by many as among the first major steps in that branding effort—will be funded in part by sales-tax collections captured in an area redevelopment district, which has about $2.25 million collected so far.

Ryan Hunt, a senior project manager for the city who is working on the plans, said the city could pursue additional funding once an outline for the initiative is more complete. Along with the murals and other landscape enhancements, residents also will weigh in on their priorities for other improvements, such as drainage and sidewalks.

City officials will hold additional public meetings and hope to have designs for the project complete by summer.

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  • Small improvements
    Try to stop making this place a through highway for commuters. 38th is a death trap for pedestrians and cuts off any connectivity that the area might have. Statistically speaking, lower incomes and varied ethnicities have a reduced dependance on the auto, yet this area was developed solely for the car and continues to be focused on this.

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