In just a few days, thousands of Lilly employees will descend upon Interstate 70. The purpose: a massive makeover we’re calling “A Greener Welcome.” It will naturalize 10 acres of vacant interchanges.
For nearly [decades], community, civic and political leaders have discussed this bleak route between our airport and downtown. More recently, its condition has become more obvious, with a new, beautiful airport and vibrant downtown as its anchors. West-side neighbors have identified—as priorities—improvements to barren community entry points and streets.
This renewed stretch of interstate will also demonstrate that Indianapolis cares about its environment and cultural life. More than 1,600 trees will pull 17,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from the air in just their first year. The 72,000 perennials and shrubs will beautify the interstate, and provide needed sustenance for birds and butterflies. Moreover, in coming months, these landscapes will be graced by work from some of the Herron School of Art and Design’s best emerging artists.
We’re grateful for Eli Lilly and Co., who has invested heavily in time and treasure to make this possible. The project’s success relies on a massive demonstration of civic engagement—36,000 hours of contributed time on just one day. We’re also grateful to the Indiana Department of Transportation, which worked closely with us in this highly unusual opportunity.
Thanks for your patience for the temporary inconvenience this coming week. Visit www.agreenerwelcome.org for traffic information, and more about the project.
President, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful Inc.