Officials should redevelop prison property

August 3, 2009

After outcry from the community, the plan to turn the current Women’s Prison on the near east side into a work release facility for male prisoners was modified to make it barely palatable. However, there’s a larger point that shouldn’t be overlooked: The Department of Corrections has clearly demonstrated that the property can become any type of correctional facility at any time. That’s why the community should demand that the property be entirely relocated and the grounds be redeveloped.

The vision for the near east side should include a redeveloped area where the state maximum security prison facility is today. It’s near downtown and offers a unique opportunity to start from the ground up to redevelop the site as a planned development. Done well, the site would support retail, transit, and complement established neighborhoods.

The city of Indianapolis can’t afford to continue to allow its neighborhoods to languish. It’s far past time for citizens and leaders at all levels to demand fundamental change on the near east side.

Kurt Wiegand

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