City to spend $750,000 to increase safety measures downtown

The city of Indianapolis plans to spend $750,000 from the downtown tax-increment financing district to improve safety in and around the Mile Square, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett announced Wednesday.

The announcement comes after months of complaints from residents, workers and business owners that downtown has become unsafe following pandemic-related shutdowns and protests that turned violent earlier this summer.

For weeks, business owners along Monument Circle and at City Market have complained the areas have become unsafe, driving business away.

The funding follows the creation of the Downtown Indy Rebuilding and Recovery Committee in late June to strategize ways to address the issues facing downtown. The committee has been working on a blueprint for recovery.

The $750,000 comes from the downtown TIF district, which captures the growth in assessed value of properties downtown, generating increased property tax revenube spent by the city on new public infrastructure and other investments.

The funding will be administered by the Capital Improvement Board to Downtown Indy Inc.

Plans call for the funding to a pay for:

– Increased foot and bike patrols of off-duty Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers in the downtown area, increasing the hours they provide that coverage from about 20 to 80 per week.

– Launching the Safety Ambassador Program, which will employ civilians and IMPD cadets to assist downtown patrons and business owners while also serving as extra eyes and ears throughout the Mile Square. The funding will pay for two eight-hour shifts of four ambassadors seven days a week.

– Creating a network of more than 150 street-level cameras in partnerships with businesses in the Mile Square that will operate through an existing IMPD camera program.

– Added mobile cameras positioned in crime hot spots that will be monitored by IMPD.

– Increased partnership between IMPD’s Downtown District, IMPD’s Narcotics Unit and IMPD’s Homeless Unit to identify areas with increased activity and deploy resources more strategically.

The funding is for one year.

“Few neighborhoods in our city have borne the mark of recent events like downtown,” Mayor Joe Hogsett said Wednesday. “Whether it was a vacancy brought on by quarantine at the height of the pandemic, or the uproar that took over our streets in the wake of protests in May, or the presence of our homeless population that has been crowded out of shelters due to capacity restrictions. Nobody needs to tell them downtown has faced too many tough challenges in these last five months.”

“We’re on the way back,” he added.

Sherry Seiwert, president and CEO of Downtown Indy Inc., said downtown is open for business and the organization will do whatever it can to encourage the community to rally for and support downtown restaurants, retailers and attractions, which are struggling.

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22 thoughts on “City to spend $750,000 to increase safety measures downtown

    1. Honey, please. So, Covid-19 has nothing to do with the current lack of activity and economic depression? And, you think Indy is the only city that experienced some social unrest? Do you even know what is going on in other cities in the US? Go to Portland, Seattle, Chicago, New York, Louisville, even Fort Wayne, then get back to me about the “destruction of the once beautiful downtown.” Spare us all the drama.

  1. Sherry is great, but the bums and the mayor of bums have to go.
    Where was this effort 3 months ago?
    Watch Joe the Bum start requiring masks on city streets and parks.

  2. What occurred is sinful. I chaired the Design Review Committee for the Regional Center of Downtown under Bill Hudnut. We worked tirelessly to develop plans and initiatives to bring Indianapolis’s core and mile square to a place that it took years to develop and become what it was just a few months ago until the scourge of humanity decided to use any excuse to destroy it. Was not a peaceful event. $750,000 is a drop in the bucket when you consider the scary mindset folks now have and the job that our Downtown Indy will have to restore confidence and place it back among the desired venues for all the conventions, commerce and new residents that it was and the efforts so many worked tirelessly to create. What is Indy doing to create the financial incentives that its surrounding neighbors are offering for development, and refurbishing? It takes more than a few hundred thousand dollars to overcome the frightening vision some folks now have of Indy and other cities that have been and still are going through the minds of its citizens, and workers. Office workers, manufacturing, entertainment, dining out, residents and other means of a cities support to make it once again a neat place to be. It will take years once again to reincarnate it. Security is the answer and that is a huge PR job and must be foremost in the minds of city leaders and our political structure. Such a shame. SAD God’s speed and Blessings for Indy,

    1. Your work on the committee is appreciated, but something tells me that for the people who have a “frightening vision” of downtown (which is humorous if you’ve actually spent any time there in the last two months), nothing would change their preconceived notions short of turning the whole thing into a Colts-stadium-and-Applebee’s megaplex and shoving all the homeless people into jail. Oh, and turning at least fifty percent of it into a parking lot.

      Yes, all American cities are experiencing a level of increased homelessness and crime, but it’s almost entirely because of the COVID economy and certainly not because of a few hours of protests months ago. I live (near) there, shop there, eat there, and socialize there, and the fearmongering in the suburban social media bubble is hyperbolic and embarrassing.

  3. Attention Mayor Hogsett: Way too much lost in confidence of residents to nurture and grow
    the downtown charm over the next 18 months from homeless beggars, drug dealers, assault/murders from teen gangbangers, at home zoomers avoiding the office, and dying
    small business and food vendors(30%) pre-pandemic.
    Why not stop and frisk late night groups looking for illegal guns? Worked for New York and
    Guliani. How does our focus group spin the safety game? More law & order oversight please!

  4. I’ve asked this before and I will ask it again – where is the money to help make the damaged businesses whole? Not only is this plan a day late and a dollar short, it doesn’t address one of the glaring needs for the downtown business owners who received a double whammy from COVID and the riots!

  5. Donald Trump is the one who needs to go. Almost every city rioted after the MLK assassination other than, Indianapolis. Why? Because we had a strong national leader here that kept things under control. What happened with Michael Brown when Obama was president? Ferguson rioted, and no other cities did. Why? Because we had an actual leader, Barack Obama, that knew how to calm the tension. All of you blaming Hogsett and Holcomb are ignoring that these riots took place in almost every city Nationwide.

  6. In these comments: people who delusionally think downtown is an irredeemable hellscape warzone, an opinion brought to you by being trapped in a Facebook suburban conservative echo chamber. As somebody who lives near downtown, this view is comical to me. Obviously there’s an uptick in homelessness and crime due to the current economic climate (especially around City Market and Monument Circle) but never once have I felt unsafe downtown in the past few months. People need to get a grip.

    1. Nights of rioting are an “uptick?” Good one, Scott. You belong on one of Boss Hogsett’s committees.

      Note to Hogsett & Company: ‘No need to secure the barn doors now. The horses have all escaped.

    2. The rioting was months ago, was just a few hours over two nights, and was confined to a relatively small area of downtown. It was absolutely unfortunate it happened, but the fact that some people keep dwelling on it months later tells me they either have a weird political agenda against downtown Indy and/or are being deliberately obtuse about its current state.

    3. Its amazing what the rioters destroyed ” in just a few hours over two nights”. Maybe those who did the damage should pay to fix it. I do not really care, I’m not planning to go downtown again anyway.

  7. Folks need to know/remember, the Central TIF includes neighborhoods like Fletcher Place. What is the city doing for those neighborhoods? Quick answer: the same thing they have always done for them; Nothing. Those neighborhoods thrived before the rioting and Covid19 because the people in those neighborhoods went to work and made their communities better. It didn’t take a Blue Ribbon committee of big named people, it just took locals who care. Next time you’re down in Fletcher Place enjoying the atmosphere, that reminds folks of a charming European city with its diverse street life, art, out door dining, and entertainment, thank one of those community members. It’s easy to find them. They are likely sweeping up the sidewalk or cleaning up other parts of the community (thinking of you Tom B.). That’s what we do down here. Keep your committees and we will keep making Indianapolis the great city it should be starting with our neighborhoods.

  8. You know there is nothing like a good camera to give a warm and fuzzy feeling when downtown and people driving around in a light colored
    2008 (ish) Mustang hardtop yelling :death to America, death to whites” circa August 1, 2020 10:30 PM near Simon Plaza.

  9. Its amazing what the rioters destroyed ” in just a few hours over two nights”. Maybe those who did the damage should pay to fix it. I do not really care, I’m not planning to go downtown again anyway.

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