Budget bans state archives building on Central Canal

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The Pence administration would be banned from constructing a new, $25 million state archives building along the Central Canal in downtown Indianapolis under the budget bill lawmakers plan to approve Wednesday.

“That’s green space and it’s not a big enough space,” said Senate Appropriations Chairman Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, who put the language into the bill. “If you build that building there now, in 20 years it’s too small.”

However, the budget includes $25 million to fund the building.

The proposed site – which state officials said earlier month is their preference for the project – is located across the canal from the Indiana History Center near a state parking garage.

That’s also across Ohio Street from the state office building complex that includes the Statehouse.

Kenley said the Department of Administration showed him six parcels of land the state owned that could serve as locations for a new archives building. “I think others are better,” he said.

Currently, many of the state’s historical documents are housed in a warehouse that does not have the climate control needed to properly preserve them.

The Indianapolis Business Journal reported April 18 that the proposed site for the archives has been somewhat controversial. “We need to continually add more vibrancy to the canal with increased foot traffic,” Sherry Seiwert, CEO of Downtown Indy, told IBJ.

The budget plan also includes $2 million to renovate part of Robert Orr Plaza at the state office complex into a bicentennial plaza as well as $2.5 million for an education center that would be part of a bicentennial legacy project.

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