Cultural Trail breaks ground on $30 million expansion

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The Indianapolis Cultural Trail Inc. is starting work on its $30 million, 2-mile expansion, the trail’s first extension since it opened in 2013.

“The additional two miles will bring landscaping, public art and a beautiful connection to our city, our cultural districts and our neighborhoods along Indiana Avenue, 10th Street, and right here along South Street,” said Cultural Trail Executive Director Kären Haley at a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday morning.

“Residents and visitors alike are going to have an easier, a safer and a more beautiful path to travel as they enjoy the wider downtown area,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett.

The Cultural Trail will add a leg along South Street, connecting the trail between New Jersey Street near Fletcher Place to Capitol Avenue near Lucas Oil Stadium.

It’ll also expand along Indiana Avenue, from the Madam Walker Legacy Center to 10th Street, then west along 10th Street to the planned bridge that will connect with the 16 Tech innovation district.

“This expansion … will stimulate and support growing economic activity, create opportunities for long-standing companies and institutions such as Slippery Noodle [Inn], Greek Islands [Restaurant], Shapiro’s [Delicatessen] and Goldman Jewelry,” said Stadium Village Business Association President Erica Wells. She said the expansion would also make the neighborhood “more attractive to new developments, businesses and residents.”

The project’s $30 million budget includes construction and an endowment for trail maintenance and public art. The Cultural Trail has received $28.5 million of the total, said Development and Marketing Manager Sarah Frey.

Lilly Endowment Inc. contributed $20 million to the trail, the city of Indianapolis gave $5 million, the Indianapolis Neighborhood Infrastructure Partnership gave $1.5 million and the Anthem and Eli Lilly & Co. Foundations each gave $1 million, according to the Cultural Trail’s website.

Construction is expected to take about 20 months, according to the organization, which would mean completion in summer 2023.

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6 thoughts on “Cultural Trail breaks ground on $30 million expansion

    1. I’m not 100% sold on that South Street expansion because of the limited opportunity to incent growth. The area between Penn St and Capitol Ave is parking lots, fast food and the post office.

  1. Decatur Township has residents walking on highways, railroad tracks. I saw a gentleman in his electric wheelchair going down Kentucky Ave in the rain with a reflective vest so cars could see. Him. Maybe drop the art and put some sidewalks in. You can call them bicycle paths. Where are out city-county counselors?

    1. Uh, Richard you do realize the trail expansion is primarily being paid for by the Lilly Endowment and other private contributors? The city is allocating an unprecedented amount of city money to public parks and adding new parkland—the IBJ has recently run articles about this. So, the City-County councilors are at the City-County building, and you are welcome to attend the public meetings or email your district representative, but the expansion of the Cultural Trail has nothing to do with sidewalks in Decatur Township or anywhere else in the city.

  2. It would be nice for some of these funds be used for maintenance of the existing Cultural Trial. Much of the existing plantings and trees have not survived.

    1. Indy builds it but never maintains it. The canal walk condition is horrible. When they finally decide to maintain and repair it the cost will be outrageous.

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