What's in a name? Rebrand weighed for Georgia Street

July 25, 2011
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Georgia Street thumbOne of the city's original streets, right there on the 1821 Alexander Ralston “Plat of the Town of Indianapolis," could get a new name. Community and business leaders are considering whether to change the name of a three-block portion of Georgia Street as part of a $12 million streetscape overhaul. The idea is to create a fresh brand for a unique destination in the city, said Julia Watson, a vice president at Indianapolis Downtown Inc. who is heading up the search for a new name. “We know it’s not Georgia,” she said. “It doesn’t make a lot of sense to refer to it that way.” But not everyone is on board, including urban affairs analyst Aaron M. Renn, who writes the Urbanophile blog. “There’s a historic tradition of streets downtown named after states, based on the Ralston plan. It’s surprising they want to get rid of it without a firm idea in mind for a new one.” Georgia Street is home to the city’s oldest hotel, the Omni Severin (98 years), and its oldest Catholic church, St. John the Evangelist (140 years). Check out the full story, including details on what approvals would be required to change the name, here (subscription required). Does the change make sense? Ideas?

  • really?
    Why don't these busybodies get to work on something that matters, or if these people have nothing better to do, then let's cut their funding and return it to the taxpayers.
  • It's Georgia Street
    Leave it alone. I know I am not in Michigan when I am traveling down Michigan Ave. in Chicago just as no one thinks that they are in Georgia when traveling on Georgia Street in Indy. That is a stupid argument. It's how our street were named and they should stay that way. Who do these people think they are. I am thinking their salaries could be better spent.
  • Street names
    It could be named No More Nordstrom Way or they could name it after the flea market that will soon occupy the space.
  • RE: It's Georgia St.
    "I know I am not in Michigan when I am traveling down Michigan Ave. in Chicago just as no one thinks that they are in Georgia when traveling on Georgia Street in Indy. "

    That's a good way to put it. While I could see the value of using a more descriptive name if the street were brand new, I think the street name should remain the same it's been this whole time. The comparison to Michigan Ave in Chicago is good.
  • Hudnut
    This would provide the perfect opportunity to name something after former mayor Bill Hudnut. Perhaps more than any other person, he promoted a vision of what downtown Indy could become. Let's rename Georgia after Hudnut.
    • Great Idea
      Great idea, Judy. Bill Hudnut did more than anyone to revitalize downtown Indianapolis and especially the area around the Convention Center, Union Station etc.
      • no nut
        at the moment, I cannot think of a more ridiculous name for a street than "Hudnut".
      • Misunderstanding
        I think there is a misunderstanding. When Ms. Watson said, “We know it’s not Georgia,” I think she means "we know we are not going to name the street Georgia," not that we know we are not in the state of Georgia.

        Renaming a street is one thing; renaming three blocks of a street just seems stupid. And potentially confusing to everyone.
        • Sorry
          I forgot that the comments don't take to copying and pasting. That, of course was supposed to read, "We know it's not Georgia."
        • It's Georgia Street!
          We are going to change the name of a downtown street because of the Superbowl!?!?!

          This is fooolishness!

          The employees of Indianapolis Downtown, Inc. need to find something better to do with their time!
        • It's Georgia Street
          Get to work or give us our tax money back. Georgia Street Promenade, etc...Just don't spend time and tax money on coming up with some catchy radio ad (like "I'm Washington Street,...)
        • Ridiculous
          Illinois street, Massachusetts Avenue, Kentucky Avenue, Virginia Avenue, Maryland street, Ohio street, etc, etc, etc.
          These streets have retained those names since their creation, nearly 200 years ago when the city was originally planned. It is sort of an Indianapolis tradition to have streets named after states.

          Not only is it arrogant of Indianapolis downtown Inc to think they can just change downtown as they please as if there is no history before it, it is also ridiculous, as they don’t even know what they want to rename it. What do they have against the name “Georgia” that they feel the need to rid it from downtown?

          Downtown is filled with empty parking lots, several run down structures, and a whole set of issues that need dealt with, and all Indianapolis downtown INC can do is try and destroy the historical name of a nearly 200-year-old street?
        • would this make sense
          downtown streets are already re-named during the NCAA tournament and perhaps other times I am not aware of. Are there any such plans to do that for the Superbowl? If yes, then leave Georgia Street Georgia Street and change it temporarily with all the rest.
        • New Focus - New Name
          I champion the tradition and history that goes into activities, locales, and places. I also applaud renewal, reinvention and renovation. It is for the latter reasons that I espouse a new name for the three block thoroughfare and soon-to-new district now under the mantle of Georgia Street.

          How blessed we are that the Super Bowl generated a need to renovate why I used to call the ugliest street in the downtown area. Georgia will be the new jewel; it's what we in Indy should refer to as," The Ultimate Makeover: Downtown Indy Edition". The ar ot it all, the structure, the multiple purposes, and the beauty built into the architectural and engineering plan will provide citizens and vistitors alike with a street---make that an experience that will add more meaning to why Indianapolis is such a great place to live and visit.

          And the name: I'm sure they'll find a great one. My choice: Hospitality Blvd.
          • NEXT
            No, the thinking with Indianapolis Downtown Inc. is, CAN WE SELL THE RIGHTS OF NAMING THE STREET TO MAKE MONEY!!!!!!! Rename 3 blocks to what? INDY FUN STREET, PARTY BOULEVARD, THRONE TO THRONE AVE. I’m getting VERY tired of IDI’s close this and rename that thinking, time to dissolve them and get people that know what there doing…
          • Georgia Street
            Those considering permanently changing the name of a three block length of Georgia Street should reconsider. Renaming a small segment of one of our city’s originally platted streets reflects no appreciation of our city’s history and tradition.

            Such a name change would certainly add insult to the injury to the Georgia Street residents who have suffered the inconvenience of months of construction that has literally closed the street.

            I’m for continuing the tradition of temporarily changing the downtown street names to reflect the major events our city hosts.

          • We've had some great mayors
            I'd say Goldsmith St or Lugar St
          • Vonnegut Blvd
            While I'm not completely sold on changing Street Names, I'd prefer if Indy chose one of its creative icons rather than another Politician for the namesake.

            Vonnegut Blvd (or Street, Ave, Way, Plaza, etc...) has some catch to it and would parallel the vibrant new use of the area.

            Letterman Ave would be my 2nd choice.
          • Call it what it is
            Boondoggle Blvd?
          • There is a precedent
            While I'm indifferent about the what happens with the name, I'm curious to know if there was a similar uproar when the city changed Tennessee Street to Capital Avenue or Mississippi Street to Senate Avenue?

            Regardless of the name, I think it's a great project. It'll be nice to have a linear gathering space in the heart of the historic Wholesale District ... one that connects Conseco Fieldhouse with the Convention Center and the Cultural Trail extender to Lucas Oil Stadium.
          • Serious Ideas Needed
            What is the end result of a name change? More patronage at local businesses? Redevelopment of Pan-Am Plaza? More residents choosing downtown to live?

            None of these would result from a silly name change of a street. Leave the name alone and start investing time into ideas that stand to benefit downtown institutions and residents.
          • Because Georgia Street was just sooooooooo terrible...
            Bob Desautels: "How blessed we are that the Super Bowl generated a need to renovate why I used to call the ugliest street in the downtown area. Georgia will be the new jewel"

            Really? Georgia Street was the ugliest street downtown? I never minded walking along it. It probably didn't really need two travel lanes in each direction, but I could think of much less attractive streetscapes.
          • History-Smishtory
            500 Avenue? It's approximately 500 yards, right?
          • KEPP THE NAME
            Don't change the name for some stupid branding reason. Keep the street's historical Georgia name -- have some pride in your street grid and history. Start acting like a big city not a bunch of bumpkins always in search of a slick, suburban styled marketing solution. Someone's trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist.

            Figure out how to get more people living in downtown Indy, how to get a transit system most any fifth rate town already has and how to stop paying for your billionaire-owned sports teams. You want a name? Try FLEECED STREET because you suckers keep ponying up for the Colts and running behind the Pacers. Keep Georgia Street!!
          • Really?
            Bob Desautels, "Hospitality Blvd" seriously? How the heck is this better than Georgia Street?
          • Change the look, not the name
            I'm all for the redevelopment going as as I use to work in the building on the SW corner of Meridian & Georgia. I am all for modernizing, revitalizing, etc., but don't change the name. Leave that part of the history of this city alone. Build on top of history, but don't eradicate it.
          • What????
            I said this before and I will say it again; this is the most stupid thing I have heard all week. Maybe, since it is paid with stimulus money, we should call it Jobs Avenue or Bush/Obama Lane. If the rehab works and the area is more successful (whatever that means), it won't be because the name was changed. Please...leave it alone.
          • Georgia
            on my mind... Lessee... hey! *I* don't have a street named for ME! It's stoopid. And yes, there was a hue and cry when NORTHWESTERN AVENUE was renamed. (Bonus points if you know which street it is now). While Senate and Capitol got renamed almost at once, because of the Statehouse being between them... how about Bismark St.? That was done during the anti-German furor attendant on World War I. Here's one for you - Where is Atwood St.? Or Berlin? (Another WWI casualty)... What I wonder is why we haven't renamed some major thoroughfare John F Kennedy Blvd? Should have been done fifty years ago.
          • Priorities?
            Amazing how much time and money are wasted on such rebranding efforts.

            Quick name Indiana's Tourism tag line!

            How about the Indianapolis Tourism tag line!

            Just so you know they have spent millions, yes millions, promoting these two brands and no one really cares.

            This idea is just as misguided as giving away the naming rights to our new billion dollar airport terminal for free.
          • Funny
            Everytime I think this administration can do nothing more ridiculous, they do.

            Maybe they should rename Massachusetts Ave too since they might get confused and think this is Boston;)
          • Whole District
            Appears Indianapolis Downtown Inc has already forgotten that they commissioned Ball State to brand areas of the entertainment areas of the city as Broad Ripple, Mass Ave, Wholesale District, etc...

            Last time I checked, Georgia Street was part of the Wholesale District.

            Why not just use the Whole District brand and leave the street name alone?

          • You could leave it as Georgia Street, but
            then people might realize that there's no need for the City to give millions each year to IDI if they don't provide seven-figure service to the public like this.
          • awesome street
            Why is everybody so mad about the new Georgia Street? I think the changes will give downtown a great new area to hang out in even after the super bowl is gone. Trees and covered outdoor space is always great in my opinion. Better than what was there before. I feel like we are lucky to have this new place in our city. Who cares what the name is. And I'm sure they are not spending that much on the rename, the 12 mil is for the redevelopment of the entire area.
          • Overall Impact
            There is really no need to rename the street if the project is done right. This has the potential to be one of the main attractions of downtown and people will come to know Georgia Street and with time, Georgia street could be the new "Mass Ave" or something even greater. Much like a Bourbon Street to NOLA or 5th Ave in NYC, Georgia street will not simply be the name of pavement, but the identity of the district. People will say let's go down to Goergia Street to eat, shop, play or whatever. It is known as Georgia street now, and in the future will be interchangable with excitment and progress. Leave it what it is. It pays ribute to the history of the relatively young city while implementing a change unlike any other.
          • Surprised
            I'm surprised no one has come up with a good compromise: name the public space improvements, but leave the actual street name and addresses alone.

            Put up signs calling the public space Hudnut Plaza, NCAA Way, Super Bowl Walk, Colts Connection, Pacers Place, Ratio Park, or something equally rooted in the actual origin of the improvements project.
          • Inferiority Complex?
            Most IDI employees, including Julia Watson, don't live in Indianapolis.

            It sort of makes sense that someone who doesn't live in Indianapolis would have no real attachment to Indianapolis history.

            That a non-profit charged with promoting downtown would play fast-and-loose with the Mile Square, for seemingly nothing more than "branding" purposes related to a two-week sporting event, is short-sighted and sad.

            What opportunities we must have missed to rename all of our streets during the National Sports Festival, Pan Am Games, NCAA Tournaments and NBA Finals!

            Hooray for the Super Bowl and its potential impact. But enough with the inferiority complex that's causing some to think we have to recast our city.
          • Stick with history
            Leave the name alone, it was stupid enough we had to change the name of Mt. Comfort airport, is it necessary to rework the entire city's history for one weekend??
          • Silly people...
            What I find most amusing about this whole thing is not that some wish to rename a rather insignificant (at least at this point) street, but rather the ridiculous UPROAR such an idea seems to have aroused on these boards!!! You people who don't think IDI has been instrumental in initiating positive change for our downtown area are completely ignorant of their efforts. And those of you who continue to cry over the "damage" being done to our originally platted street grid that renaming this single stretch of street (or not)will do nothing to erase the many, many changes to the original street grid that have occured previously.

            Overall, I'm thrilled about this project and could give a rats patootie what they call as long as they don't sell the rights to some corporate entity.
          • Respect our history
            While I like the idea of naming something after Mayor Hudnut, please leave our street names as it. Please respect the historic names as given by Ralston in our original town plat. It would be confusing to rename just a short section of the street. Call the area a name, but keep the street name as it.
          • Selling Out
            The 1821 plat used the names of other states for several streets: Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, Georgia. It's part of our identity. Street names aren't a brand. Unless these folks want to resort to total honesty and rename Georgia, "We're Pandering to the Lowest Common Denominator for the Super Bowl" Street, they should immediately cease and desist this lunacy.
          • Marshall, Really...?
            MARSHALL: Most of these comments are not an attack on IDI. Rather there is not a reasonable end-result for the name change. The historic street gird is acutally very significant. One would have to give a reason with a measurable result to change the name, which I challenge you to put forth. Might you be the silly one?
          • messing up plans
            It a weeee bit late to be changing names. if there were a reason that had more gravity than a party that'll take place for a week i'd still say no. maps, business cards, hell, foursquare check-ins would all have to be changed.
            white river never looks white to me so naturally if more people are going to go canoeing in the river we should change it to something else, to reflect its use: that makes no sense.
          • better idea
            Why doesn't IDI invest some time on simple pedestrian wayfinding improvements downtown? Ever notice how difficult it is to figure out where you are if you're walking on/toward one of the (many, ridiculous) one-ways downtown? I usually know where I'm at, but the existing signage is for drivers only, not pedestrians. Imagine how downtown guests feel. I agree that renaming/branding Georgia street should be lower on the to do list.
          • IDI get back to work!
            gee, in my little berg, it was the people who lived on a particular street who petitioned the town to change the name of their street.
            Does the Omni and St. John's and everyone else on Georgia St. want to have to "re-brand" their address?
            Yes, I was around when MLK, Jr. Blvd was known as Northwestern.
          • no.
            do not change the name. bad idea all around.
          • Confusing? Really?
            Anyone who thinks he's in Georgia, because he's on Georgia Street, probably needs to be locked up overnight for his own protection. Leave the street name as it has historically been.
          • Not Surprised
            I'm so not surprised that someone from Indianapolis Downtown, Inc. wants to rename the street. IDI has been fleecing taxpayers for years to pay themselves huge salaries to do to do what other groups already do. They get all their money from taxpayers and from shaking down downtown business owners for "contributions." You don't contribute, they won't support you in various matters with the city.
          • Ridiculous
            IDI has outlived its usefulness. Let's put an end to this foolishness
          • Ridonkulous
            RB's comment on this made my day!
          • Hudnut Hook
            I agree on the name Hudnut as a way to honor the former major. I still have visions of seeing him on a commercial doing the Hudnut Hook!
          • Waste of money street
            I really hate renaming streets!
            For the Stupid Bowl?
            12 million $ walkway.... For a week in the spotlight!
          • Don't change a good name!
            If Georgia Street has been good enough since 1821...let's keep it that way. Why does everyone want to change a good thing? Is Julia Watson born and raised in Indy? Let's hope she isn't...then we can forgive her for even suggesting the change. Shame on Julia!
          • Keep Georgia Street
            Why change the name at all? If you would like to appeal to the city to KEEP GEORGIA STREET, send emails to GeorgiaStreet@indy.gov AND julia@indydt.com (Indianapolis Downtown, Inc.). Join the KEEP GEORGIA STREET Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Keep-the-historic-name-Georgia-Street-Indianapolis/283498898332005.
          • It will always be Georgia Street
            No matter what they call it I will always call it Georgia Street. We have other streets named for states. They are from the original plan for Indianapolis. It is dumb to change the name.
          • Please stop these lame ideas
            I don't want Georgia St. renamed and I don't want the Monument Circle closed to traffic every week for some booster rally dance fest.
          • Compromise?
            I am torn between the idea of retaining the original name given by Alexander Ralston and creating a brand new name for Georgia Street between the Convention Center and Conseco Fieldhouse. As a person whose ancestors came to Indiana in 1820 and to Indianapolis in 1840, I feel very protective of our Hoosier heritage. At the same time, I can understand the desire to confer a special name upon a particular geographical location that will serve as a gathering place for people.

            How about a name for the those three blocks (only!) that would incorporate the original name "Georgia Street" in its new name? Something like Georgia Street Commons, Georgia Street Plaza, Georgia Street Promenade, or Georgia Street Festival Marketplace? Leave all of the rest of Georgia Street as it was originally named. If the new name starts off with "Georgia Street," then it could still be found on maps and GPS systems, but the additional words in its title would further define its purpose and location. If people forget to speak or write out the entire new name, at least they will get the "Georgia Street" part of it right.

            There are already many examples of name changes to Alexander Ralston's 1821 plans for the Town of Indianapolis, including Circle Street being changed to Monument Circle, Tennessee Street being changed to Capitol Avenue, and Mississippi Street being changed to Senate Avenue. Virtually all of Ralston's original Missouri Street was wiped out within the Mile Square, as a result of the construction of the Central Canal, various State office buildings, and the Indiana Convention Center.

            In addition, all four diagonal "spokes" of Ralston's original plans have been altered over the years. Portions of Indiana Avenue, Massachusetts Avenue, and Virginia Avenue have been altered or vacated; and Kentucky Avenue no longer even exists within the Mile Square at all. By the way, the four diagonal streets were not originally named "Avenue", as they are now known; each was called "Street."

            Furthermore, all of the alleys in the Mile Square now have names, which were not part of Ralston's original plans. I would be willing to bet that the average Indianapolis resident (including those who have lived here all of their lives) could not begin to tell you where Pierson, Tippecanoe, Allegheny, Hudson, Miami, Wabash, Toledo, Kankakee, Muskingum, Pearl, Court, Ogden, McCrea, Louisiana, or Chesapeake Streets are located. Locals might be able to tell you where Jackson Place is, since Union Station is located on it and was for a time a destination.

            If the name "Georgia Street" remains exactly as it has always been, there will be a number of people who will be unhappy about it. If a totally new and different name is created, there will be a number of people who will be unhappy about it. As a compromise, I'd try to find a name that somehow incorporates both viewpoints. I'd keep "Georgia Street," but add a word or phrase to its name to further define the area that's being developed for Super Bowl XLVI festivities.
          • Keep Georgia Street!
            What is wrong with people? The name "Georgia Street" is fine and always will be. What a waste of time and energy. Beam me up, Scotty, there is no intelligent life here.
          • Keep Georgia Street!
            What is wrong with people? The name "Georgia Street" is fine and always will be. What a waste of time and energy. Beam me up, Scotty, there is no intelligent life here.

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          1. why oh why does this state continue to elect these people....do you wonder how much was graft out of the 3.8 billion?

          2. i too think this is a great idea. I think the vision and need is there as well. But also agree with Wendy that there may be better location in our city to fulfill this vision and help grow the sports of hockey and figure skating in Indy. Also to help further develop other parts of the city that seem often forgotten. Any of the other 6 townships out side of the three northernmost could benefit greatly from a facility and a vision like this. For a vision that sounds philanthropic, the location is appears more about the money. Would really like to see it elsewhere, but still wish the development the best of luck, as we can always use more ice in the city. As for the Ice growth when they return, if schedules can be coordinated with the Fuel, what could be better than to have high level hockey available to go see every weekend of the season? Good luck with the development and the return of the Ice.

          3. How many parking spaces do they have at Ironworks? Will residents have reserved spaces or will they have to troll for a space among the people that are there at Ruth Chris & Sangiovese?

          4. You do not get speeding ticket first time you speed and this is not first time Mr.Page has speed. One act should not define a man and this one act won't. He got off with a slap on the wrist. I agree with judge no person was injured by his actions. The state was robbed of money by paying too much rent for a building and that money could have been used for social services. The Page family maybe "generous" with their money but for most part all of it is dirty money that he obtained for sources that are not on the upright. Page is the kind of lawyer that gives lawyers a bad name. He paid off this judge like he has many other tine and walked away. Does he still have his license. I believe so. Hire him to get you confiscated drug money back. He will. It will cost you.

          5. I remain amazed at the level of expertise of the average Internet Television Executive. Obviously they have all the answers and know the business inside and out.