Letter: Downtown needs focus on cleanliness, green spaces

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This note is to underscore the five points Nate Feltman made in his commentary last month in the IBJ [“Indy must grow or die,” Nov. 10].

In particular, I endorse his thoughts on beautification/placemaking and better branding for downtown. All you have to do is go to Columbus, Ohio, to see how it should be done.

The trees and planting beds need to be increased tenfold and maintained. Involving organizations like Keep Indianapolis Beautiful Inc. and even Indy Parks and Recreation is imperative. Clearly a new Mile Square “Keep it Green” committee funded in part by the newly passed taxing structure should be all over this—year-round. Right now, there is no central greenspace authority in charge for all the community councils and commercial property managers to coordinate with.

Branding (and signage) is equally unorganized. The parks department, which oversees the Monon Trail and other rail trails, has its own signage program completely different from the Indianapolis Cultural Trail. Why? The original Mile Square wayfinding signage program, initiated by Indianapolis Downtown Inc. (now Downtown Indy Inc.) under Tamara Zahn, was great 15 years ago, but the signs aren’t being maintained, and some have been removed.

We used to be known as the cleanest city around, but something has changed. The street repair, trash pickup and sense of security is very different.

Is this all about funding? I don’t think so. It’s that those in a position to affect change don’t see what we see.

The first impression is the most important, and we are failing to leave a good one.

—Lee Alig

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