Joe Hogsett: Signs of progress are all around Monument Circle

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What is your vision for Monument Circle and the areas surrounding it?

For more than a century, Monument Circle and the towering figure of Victory have served as the centerpiece of Indianapolis civic life. But while it has consistently been a gathering place of ideas and people, downtown over the last hundred years has evolved in a whirlwind—perhaps no more so than in the years since a global pandemic silenced the hum of activity that has always been the hallmark of our city’s core.

In response to these challenges, I launched in 2021 a Downtown Resiliency Strategy as a vision for what Monument Circle and downtown—our city’s first neighborhood—could become in a post-pandemic world. This strategy revolves around investments in new housing, expanded public spaces, and generational projects to sustain and grow our convention and tourism industries. Two years on, this vision is taking shape with more than $9 billion of investment slated for downtown, and the visible signs of progress are on full display at Monument Circle.

While our partners at the Indiana War Memorials Commission work to preserve the Soldiers & Sailors Monument, cranes are in the air finalizing a luxury InterContinental Hotel. Working with the Capital Improvement Board and a vast number of civic partners, we’ve breathed life into a quadrant and brought thousands of neighbors and visitors to Spark on the Circle.

But I’m also proud that Monument Circle provides a unique vantage point for our city’s broader vision for downtown.

Looking north, you can see cranes in the air at Indiana University Health’s massive investment in a downtown health district. Gazing south, you can see where dirt is being moved on the latest expansion to the Indiana Convention Center that has already earned the city a contract extension from Gen Con. A quick glance east down Market Street shows where a series of groundbreakings are set for a massive investment in City Market, the rejuvenation of Jail II into mixed-use development, and the continued redevelopment of the Elevator Hill neighborhood.

And west? I’m particularly proud that, through our strategy of bipartisan collaboration with Gov. Holcomb and state legislative leadership, this last session saw key victories for downtown through the authorization of an economic enhancement district and the allocation of historic state funding for the city’s first low-barrier shelter for unhoused neighbors. Coupled with our investment of $3.5 million in Downtown Indy Inc.’s safety teams, new cleanliness efforts and social services, it’s no wonder Indianapolis is garnering national attention for our efforts to lead the way in what a modern downtown can be.

While other cities struggle, we’re making ambitious moves. In the same way that we were hosting global events while the country remained shuttered, I am confident Indianapolis will continue to lead the way. We will create a downtown that not only reflects our resilience but also fuels our aspirations for an inclusive and more connected community.

And I’m confident that, just as it has for a century, that progress will run straight through Monument Circle.•

__________

Hogsett, a Democrat, is serving his second term as Indianapolis mayor and running for a third. Send comments to ibjedit@ibj.com.


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