Indianapolis neighborhoods that are willing to put up some funding to pay for new road and infrastructure improvements could find themselves with help from the city.
Mayor Joe Hogsett on Thursday announced a new public-private partnership program that will award up to $4 million next year in matching funds to community organizations for certain infrastructure projects.
“We’re trying to be nimble, trying to be creative, trying to be innovative,” said Hogsett as he announced the plan. “We don’t really know what kind of response we’re going to get. I’m looking forward to the results."
Neighborhood groups—including community centers, educational groups, homeowners associations and others—will be able to submit applications starting Friday through March 1 for an award of up to $1.5 million per project. Groups are required to have a 50 percent match for the funding.
The funding for the project comes from the city’s existing $120 million infrastructure budget.
The Department of Public Works will score the projects and make awards by mid-March, with the goal to start construction in 2018.
DPW director Dan Parker said the program is part of Hogsett's vision is to “use the tools that were used to build our great downtown” in neighborhoods.
The project must be for construction or improvements to public infrastructure, such as roads, sidewalks, paths, bridges. Groups may also donate right-of-way for use in a certain project.
The funds will not be able to be used for projects not within public right-of-way. Streetscape projects such as lights, pavers, gateway elements and others also will not be considered.
Project costs can add up fast. The DPW estimates that resurfacing roads costs $30 per foot per lane. Building a new sidewalk or path costs $130 per linear foot. Rehabbing a sidewalk costs $60 per linear foot.
Parker said the projects will be scored by DPW by practical measures on whether they are feasible and whether the financial matching commitment is real, as well as more qualitative measures such as whether there is a need demonstrated and the project fits into the city’s overall infrastructure plans.
“Give us your ideas, show us what you want to do, partner with us, and we’ll build a better Indianapolis together,” Parker said.