Cultural Trail snags $20.5 million stimulus boost

February 17, 2010

The Indianapolis Cultural Trail has been awarded $20.5 million in federal stimulus funds, which will be used for construction on the remaining 4.5 miles of the project, officials announced Wednesday.

The federal contribution brings the total amount of money raised to fund the trail to $62.5 million, exceeding the original fund-raising goal of $55 million. The additional $7.5 million will enable the city to upgrade infrastructure during construction of the trail, which should be completed by the end of 2011.

“This is a tremendous investment in Indianapolis,” Mayor Greg Ballard said in a prepared statement. “The Cultural Trail is an undeniable asset to our community.”

Ballard was scheduled to join U.S. Rep. Andre Carson and Central Indiana Community Foundation President Brian Payne for a mid-day news conference at Davlan Park to announce the new funding.

The award is part of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER, program funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Funds will be used to complete the part of the trail that connects the southeast corridor (Fountain Square), the central corridor (Washington Street) and the west corridor (Blackford Street).

“Today’s announcement is a serious jolt to our local economy and the future of tourism in Indianapolis,” Rep. Carson [D-Indianapolis] said in prepared statement. “The Cultural Trail is a prime example of how the Recovery Act is both working to create jobs immediately and lay the ground for future economic growth.”

Supporters of the trail say the trail should generate a total economic benefit of more than $800 million and create more than 10,000 jobs through construction, private-sector investment along the trail and an expansion of tourism.

The grant requires the $20.5 million be spent by the end of 2011, which should enable the trail to be finished before Indianapolis hosts Super Bowl XLVI.

The largest private gift to the trail is a $15 million donation received in October 2006 from Gene and Marilyn Glick.

Payne said a new not-for-profit, Indianapolis Cultural Trail Inc., has been formed to manage, market and maintain the trail once it is completed. The organization also will continue to raise funds for the trail’s ongoing maintenance.


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