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State solicits ideas for bicentennial plaza near Statehouse

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Significant portions of Indiana's 2016 bicentennial celebration could take place on a new public plaza west of the Statehouse.

The Indiana Department of Administration this week issued a request for information for a “bicentennial plaza” that would be located at the intersection of Robert D. Orr Plaza and Senate Avenue. The RFI is the state’s way of determining the feasibility of such a project, and if responses aren’t adequate, the state won’t move forward.

The administration department is working with the Indiana Bicentennial Commission, which began considering bicentennial-related capital projects at the urging of Gov. Mike Pence, who was a history major at Hanover College and has taken a strong interest in the bicentennial events, said Chris Jensen, executive director of the commission.

“The plaza idea is one that came up as a longstanding legacy capital project the commission can get behind,” Jensen said.

The RFI tells potential bidders to assume a $2 million construction budget, which Jensen said probably will be funded through public and private sources.

The commission recently added a staff member with expertise in fundraising, Jensen said.

The commission was appointed by former Gov. Mitch Daniels and has been at work for the past two and a half years. Friday is Jensen's last day as executive director. He is headed to a job in the private sector and will be replaced by Perry Hammock, who joined the commission staff in March after serving as executive director of resource development at Ivy Tech Community College, where he worked for 33 years.

The RFI for the plaza also asks respondents to incorporate native Indiana materials, recognition of the 92 counties, a water feature, a time capsule and a torch light.

One of the signature activities of the bicentennial is a 92-county torch relay, which will culminate in Indianapolis in October 2016. Jensen said the torch relay will go forward whether or not a plaza is built, but the event’s planners hope to find a way to incorporate an everlasting flame into the plaza’s design.

Indiana's statehood day is Dec. 11, but the major outdoor celebration might be held in October to take advantage of better weather, Jensen said.

Potential bidders may also incorporate Robert D. Orr Plaza, the east side of West Street and the western edge of the Statehouse grounds in their designs, according to the RFI.

The administration department, which handles state public works projects, also wants to create a welcome center at the State Library, which has an entrance on Senate Avenue across from the west entrance of the Statehouse, Jensen said. The welcome center would be aimed at educating the legions of fourth-graders who tour the Statehouse every year while learning about Indiana history, he said.

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  • Billboard
    Just erect a Billboard, Indiana has them everywhere, just drive our Interstates. Indiana is billboard ugly compared to every bordering state. So much for quality of life.
  • Parking
    I agree, that parking lot looks terrible and is completely unnesassary. Hopefully that is part of the plan....but only 2 million for a bicentennial plaza? Hopeful donors pour in so that it's done well and not on the cheap like so many projects the state tackles. Quality over quantity is not something our state government is known for....
  • Statehouse Ashphalt
    I'm guessing the proposed plaza would permanently close Senate Ave. - actually applaud that idea. Would be a nicety to also include the dreaded asphalt parking lot which currently abuts the Statehouse's north side. What an absurdity to have a parking lot on our Statehouse gounds!!
  • How about
    Giant corncob, white sheet, pointy hat.

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  1. Of what value is selling alcoholic beverages to State Fair patrons when there are many families with children attending. Is this the message we want to give children attending and participating in the Fair, another venue with alooholic consumption onsite. Is this to promote beer and wine production in the state which are great for the breweries and wineries, but where does this end up 10-15 years from now, lots more drinkers for the alcoholic contents. If these drinks are so important, why not remove the alcohol content and the flavor and drink itself similar to soft drinks would be the novelty, not the alcoholic content and its affects on the drinker. There is no social or material benefit from drinking alcoholic beverages, mostly people want to get slightly or highly drunk.

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  3. In Europe there are schools for hairdressing but you don't get a license afterwards but you are required to assist in turkey and Italy its 7 years in japan it's 10 years England 2 so these people who assist know how to do hair their not just anybody and if your an owner and you hire someone with no experience then ur an idiot I've known stylist from different countries with no license but they are professional clean and safe they have no license but they have experience a license doesn't mean anything look at all the bad hairdressers in the world that have fried peoples hair okay but they have a license doesn't make them a professional at their job I think they should get rid of it because stateboard robs stylist and owners and they fine you for the dumbest f***ing things oh ur license isn't displayed 100$ oh ur wearing open toe shoes fine, oh there's ONE HAIR IN UR BRUSH that's a fine it's like really? So I think they need to go or ease up on their regulations because their too strict

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