The Fort Harrison Reuse Authority on Monday opened a $3 million expansion of Otis Avenue that officials hope will attract more development to the former Fort Benjamin Harrison military base.
Otis Avenue is one of the main routes at the fort and now will stretch from Lawton Loop to Brooks Boulevard—a project officials think will spur development of 18 acres at 56th Street and Lawrence Village Parkway in the city of Lawrence.
“The opening of this section of Otis Avenue is just the beginning for this area in the Lawrence Village at the Fort,” said Marci Reddick, president of the reuse authority, in a written statement. “In the coming months, you will see construction begin on major multi-use spaces, including a new branch of the Indianapolis Marion County Public Library, new market-rate apartments, possibly a hotel and office space.”
The extension of Otis Avenue includes lighted sidewalks and new parking areas, in addition to the creation of Melner Road. It now connects Otis Avenue and 56th Street east of Lee Road to provide quicker access to Pendleton Pike and Interstate 465.
Since the U.S. military decommissioned Fort Harrison in 1996, the reuse authority and its partners have worked to redevelop more than 800 acres of vacant land while still preserving the history at the fort.