Cultural Trail names executive director

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Indianapolis Cultural Trail Inc. has hired its first executive director, Karen Haley, who was also the first director of the city’s Office of Sustainability.

Haley, 32, works closely with the team at the Central Indiana Community Foundation that’s in charge of finishing the 8-mile urban path, but her job is to maintain and promote portions of the trail that are complete.

By 2012, the Cultural Trail will be the driving force behind any number of events and initiatives, such as a bike-sharing program, Haley said. “Once it’s built, the fun is just beginning,” she said.

Indianapolis Cultural Trail Inc. is an independent not-for-profit organization. Its 11-member board of directors includes several of the trail’s leading patrons: Lori Efroymson, Myrta Pulliam, Margot Eccles and representatives of the Glick Family Foundation.

The trail is the brainchild of Central Indiana Community Foundation President Brian Payne, but he will not serve on the board. Haley said she’ll be meeting with Payne regularly throughout the trail’s completion.

“It’s a huge responsibility,” she said of taking over the project that Payne has shepherded for nine years.

The trail is being built over city right-of-ways with $62.5 million in private gifts and government grants, including a federal stimulus grant that’s spurring completion by 2012.

Haley, who has been on the job for 10 days, said her first task is to nail down maintenance expenses for completed sections. The trail has a $6 million maintenance endowment, but total expenses will likely require ongoing fundraising.

In the Office of Sustainability, which Indianapolis created in 2008, Haley oversaw activities like energy audits of city buildings and creating rain gardens. Her experience in government will no doubt come in handy when dealing with cracked brick pavers and summer landscaping.

Haley said she’s also looking forward to being the trail's main cheerleader. A native of Atlanta, her undergraduate degree from Georgia Tech was in business and marketing. “I do think it’s fun to dream about what the trail becomes.”


  • How dumb
    I agree with Freddy. what is the dumb hang up with bikes even to the point we build a bike corral at the city market and kick out 20 year tenants like the family owned pizza shop. What a complete waste of energy, talent and resources.
  • Where are you Getting the Salary From?
    Freddy, nowhere in the article is Ms. Haley's salary mentioned, so I am not sure where you are coming up with your imagined figure. Also, this is a private organization that is free to pay its executive director whatever it so chooses. Finally, you clearly haven't traveled the country much based on your "only in Indianapolis" comment.

    That said, I would think you would be able to find far more serious issues to get worked up about than worrying about a nonprofit organization managing an urban trail.
  • Executive Director
    Only in Indianapolis do we give someone a six figure salary to manage a sidewalk. Disgusting.
    • politics
      Looks like ballards people are moving out and getting buried into the bureaucracy. run but you can't hide.
    • well done
      Hopefully this will be a gift that keeps on givivng. I expect more mixed use (residential/commercial) investment along the trail. Luckily for us, this turned out to be a successful public-private partnership.
    • It is Being Self-Maintained
      Michael, the reason the Cultural Trail has a non-profit organization managing it (with a Board of Directors, as all non-profits are required to have) goes back to the proposal the city agreed to endorse. The city allowed the use of public right-of-way, so long as the Trail could be funded through private and federal funding (rather than local tax dollars as any typical infrastructure project would be), AND if the Trail would also have a separate privately funded maintenance endowment (so the City would not have to use local tax dollars to maintain it). So, if the requirement is that it needs to be separately maintained, then some organization/entity has to do it. The city said it would not be responsible, and so there is a non-profit that will be in charge of maintaining it. It may be a sidewalk/bike path, but it will cover 8.5 miles when completed, and it has expensive elements to maintain like lighting, benches, bike racks, decorative bricks, art work, and landscaping (and the landscaping alone requires a lot of regular maintenance).

      Unfortunately, sidewalks, streets, etc. don't just maintain themselves.
    • Seriously?!?
      A sidewalk with an executive director and board of directors? Sure, it's a nice walk, but you've got to be kidding me.
      • Correction
        The formal name of Georgia Tech is Georgia Institute of Technology, rather than Georgia Tech University.


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