Competition seeks ideas for Monument Circle

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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.


  • Professionals
    Joyce is forgetting that the people who will be looking at these proposals are professionals who are taught how to evaluate the costs and benefits of traffic vs no traffic and apparently they have found it not to be efficient except during holidays/ large events. This is a competition used to brew up ideas. Even the winner will likely not be completed, but it is the ideas that come up that are important.
  • Easy
    Ballard has already submitted his winning proposal. He is going to sell it to a Texas company who will charge $1.00 per vehicle to enter the circle, with a guarantee profit of $1 million per year. Of course the city will get 10 cents of every dollar and Ballard will tell everyone how he has not raised taxes and has generated money for the city. But then Mitch will be in the race as he has some foreign companies willing to buy the circle and we know the state needs the money and so does Daniels as he is ready to accept money from special interest goups for a run for the white house - which will be next on Daniel's list to sell to some foreign company.
  • Giggle
    Okay, I was going to play the "typical Hoosier" role, but Joyce beat me to it. I'll just add "I never go to the Circle, so this better not use my tax money" and "this is a big government plot make me quit eating fast food and/or smoking, I just know it." Too fun.
  • Ideas Aplenty
    I, for one, will be submitting a proposal. I like competitions like this (though I am not an architect or designer by trade) because they encourage a sort of crowd-sourcing with respect to urban planning. I guarantee that a 10-yearold can come up with ideas that a 50-year old urban planner never could. I look forward to seeing what the visionaries of Indianapolis can put forward.
  • Discouraging???
    How in the world would $30.00 discourage anybody? If they wanted to discourage people, they could have charge $3,000.00 to submit ideas. $30.00 won't discourage anyone.
  • The Circle
    We all know where this is going. The city wants to close the Circle to vehicular traffic, even though none of the businesses on the Circle and most of the citizens of Indianapolis are against it. So they want opinions, but only from people who have $30.00 to ante up. Why have a fee to contribute ideas? To discourage people from submitting ideas, of course. Then they can do what they want to do anyway. DO NOT close the Circle to cars. Oh, do I owe $30.00?

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  1. So as I read this the one question that continues to come to me to ask is. Didn't Indiana only have a couple of exchanges for people to opt into which were very high because we really didn't want to expect the plan. So was this study done during that time and if so then I can understand these numbers. I also understand that we have now opened up for more options for hoosiers to choose from. Please correct if I'm wrong and if I'm not why was this not part of the story so that true overview could be taken away and not just parts of it to continue this negative tone against the ACA. I look forward to the clarity.

  2. It's really very simple. All forms of transportation are subsidized. All of them. Your tax money already goes toward every single form of transportation in the state. It is not a bad thing to put tax money toward mass transit. The state spends over 1,000,000,000 (yes billion) on roadway expansions and maintenance every single year. If you want to cry foul over anything cry foul over the overbuilding of highways which only serve people who can afford their own automobile.

  3. So instead of subsidizing a project with a market-driven scope, you suggest we subsidize a project that is way out of line with anything that can be economically sustainable just so we can have a better-looking skyline?

  4. Downtowner, if Cummins isn't getting expedited permitting and tax breaks to "do what they do", then I'd be happy with letting the market decide. But that isn't the case, is it?

  5. Patty, this commuter line provides a way for workers (willing to work lower wages) to get from Marion county to Hamilton county. These people are running your restaurants, hotels, hospitals, and retail stores. I don't see a lot of residents of Carmel working these jobs.