Cultural Trail snags $20.5 million stimulus boost

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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