Indianapolis planning to spend $190M to update public facilities

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Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett speaks during an news conference at Douglass Park on Feb. 22, 2021. (IBJ photo/Mickey Shuey)

The city of Indianapolis plans to spend $190 million on multiple infrastructure and community-revitalization projects, including a new family services center, forensics lab and improvements to four local parks, it announced Monday afternoon.

Each project in the program, known as Circle City Forward, will range from $7 million to as much as $40 million, with funding coming from new bonds set to replace an expiring property tax levy. The new County Cumulative Capital Development Fund tax levy comes as the city prepares to pay off 2005 pension relief bonds later this year.

The projects include four local parks and a handful of aging structures that house city and county functions. Specifics of each project are expected to be shared during a meeting of the Indianapolis City-County Council’s administration and finance committee later Monday. The projects are expected to be completed in the next two years.

The recipients:

— Youth and Family Services Center, replacing juvenile detention center, $40 million;
— County forensics lab, $30 million;
— Frederick Douglass Park improvements, including a new family center, $20 million;
— Animal Care Services facility, $18 million;
— Coroner’s facility, $16 million;
— Riverside Park, $11 million;
— Solid Waste garage, replacing current 70-year-old facility, $9 million;
— Broad Ripple fire station, $7.5 million;
— Grassy Creek Regional Park, $7 million;
— Krannert Park, $7 million.

In remarks during Monday’s announcement, Mayor Joe Hogsett said the multi-phase program is focused on investing in neighborhoods and ailing public facilities.

“Circle City Forward is an aggressive course of action for Indianapolis, a plan designed to jump-start the economy and drive public investment into our neighborhoods,” the said. “This initial investment will upgrade critical government facilities and enhance service delivery to residents.”

City officials expect the projects, which will roll out over the next few years, will create hundreds of temporary construction jobs and new investment opportunities in local neighborhoods.

The City-County Council will take up a proposal Monday to authorize the first $19 million for the project, which will go toward preliminary design work and site planning.

City Controller Ken Clark said he expects bonds will be issued in the fall, but work will soon start on determining where some of the new projects will go—in particular, the Youth and Family Services Center, the County Forensics Lab and coroner’s facility.

He said while locations for those facilities have not yet been finalized, it’s possible they will go at or near the Community Justice Campus southeast of downtown.

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21 thoughts on “Indianapolis planning to spend $190M to update public facilities

  1. Spend Spend Spend………..exactly who is paying the piper? I find this hard to believe, ” funding coming from bonds tied to an expiring pension levy.” I admit, I am not educated on exactly how revenue ties to expired bonds, etc., but they are proposing 165.5 MILLION in projects. Why are they even entertaining such a thought, when the downtown is evaporating before our eyes, and no place in the county is safe from crime.

    Seriously………” first $19 million for the project, which will go toward preliminary design work and site planning.” Note “preliminary”…….. its already over priced at 19 million, but it won’t end there, as that’s the “preliminary” price tag.

    This is the type of stuff that is/will cause the mass exit from Marion County. Personally, we are selling all of our investments in Marion County before it tanks totally. The problem, I don’t know if we can get out quick enough.

    1. Do you complain about Carmel’s spending too? You know they have around 9x the debt per capita as Indianapolis, right? Indianapolis is far more fiscally responsible than Carmel.

    2. A problem was never solved by ignoring it.

      You have to SPEND to make improvements? Shock.

      Thanks for your input, Karen. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

    3. HEY KAREN SHOULD BE ABLE TO TAKE HER EXPENSIVE BALL AND GO HOME….to a suburb where other Karen’s complain about city life.

    1. Don A. – So investments in the Juvenile Detention Center and a new Coroner’s complex and garage for dump trucks will KEEP people in Marion Co.?! Explain those attributes and how they positively enhance a Marion Co. home listing.
      4 parks an 6 County services projects here while the Downtown which draws people (residents and visitors who bring and spend into the Marion Co economy) sit boarded up and over run with homeless and graffiti – but let’s throw some lipstick on the pig so it looks nice for the basketball tournaments and the restricted restaurants & bars.

  2. Without Indianapolis the entire state of Indiana will be affected. Indiana has only one major metropolitan area (tax district) Indianapolis. Letting Indy free fall will collapse the central part of the state first, then like cancer spread through the rest of Indiana.

    Running from the problems will affect everyone in the state over time.

  3. This is a needed set of investments and planning it to repurpose an existing tax levy is exactly what they should do…there will not need to be a tax increase, but the annual dollars being raised for a past purpose will be redirected to a new one. Good work!

  4. They are putting money in parks in poor areas, thinking that will help the murder rate, parks are taken over by the drug trade, and the neighborhood gets. . .more crime

    1. Doug T. What do you have against poor people, that they might be Black or Hispanic? Is your comment really about crime?

      Anything that makes things better for poor people in my city, makes my city better.

  5. It never fails,anytime you speak of spending money to improve certian areas of the city,you will definitely get the conservatives stirred up like a hornets nest.Lets be honest, Indy is the only true major city in the state with Ft Wayne in a disatant second but the point is that Indy has to deal economic and social issues just like any major metro in the country. Its called growing pains and theres clearly some areas in the city thats been neglected for YEARS! To be considered a true tier 1 city you have to invest in the neighborhoods surrounding your downtown area.If all Indy does is build up its business district and overlook its urban areas then it will just ony cost even more in the future and not to mention it leaves large pockets of undesirble real estate.

  6. I grew up in the parks and swimming pools, early 70’s. It was great. It’s about time we make this a priority to all communities in Indianapolis. Why shouldn’t all kids have a place to play. I say good job !!!

  7. Given the size of the city – both by population and geography – even $190 million in improvements is too little. The per capita spending works out to about $125 a year (or less than 35 cents per day). Anyone who is unwilling to see his or her tax dollars invested to maintain or improve public works, even at this low level, can only be described as selfish tightwads.

  8. The Republicans can’t seem to invest in the future of anything. Crumbling infrastructure, underfunded schools, bad public health policies – but let’s cut some more taxes. That’ll trickle down and work. The US will be a third world country in a generation or two unless we start to look ahead and not behind all the time.