It’s hard to miss the trend that emerged from the lists of biggest central Indiana stories of 2019: the start of new chapters.
That’s a generalization, of course. The demise of trucking giant Celadon is the end of an era, not the start of one. But so many other big stories of the year—Roger Penske’s purchase of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, big acquisitions by Eli Lilly and Co. and Elanco, the launch of the Red Line—all are as much about the future as they are about the past.
And so it is in that vein that we look ahead to 2020. Here’s how we would like to see some new beginnings play out:
◗ Roger Penske’s Penske Corp. joins forces with the town of Speedway (and the city of Indianapolis) to plan a one-of-a-kind entertainment district to complement the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. With significant acreage outside the track, Penske can add horsepower to Speedway’s existing efforts to remake its typically sleepy community into something more exciting.
◗ The city of Indianapolis and Ambrose Property Group find a way to turn the latter’s decision to pull out of developing the former GM stamping plant site into a win for both the company and the community. Ambrose’s startling move led the city to take steps to buy the property through eminent domain, which led the company to sue. The dispute isn’t good for the city and it’s certainly not going to speed along a project at one of the city’s most desirable expanses of land. So, while we understand the city’s motivation and are disappointed by Ambrose’s decision, we urge CEO Aasif Bade and the Hogsett administration to go back to the negotiating table to find a way to move forward that benefits everyone involved.
◗ The Republican-controlled General Assembly takes meaningful steps toward repairing its relationship with teachers and setting the stage for pay hikes. We don’t expect lawmakers will fork over millions of dollars for teacher raises in this non-budget legislative session. But we expect them to realize public school teachers have felt battered over the last decade by changes in school policies and the rhetoric that has accompanied them. We don’t believe all those changes have been negative, but demoralizing classroom teachers is not the answer. It’s time to fix this problem—whether it’s perception or reality.
◗ IndyGo attacks the problems that have accompanied its Red Line launch and puts its bus-rapid-transit rollout back on track. We know big changes are difficult, especially when you’re trying to use technology that’s on the cutting edge. But IndyGo can’t continue to blame vendors for the problems plaguing the Red Line. It should take responsibility for them and fix them. It would also be helpful, though, for Red Line detractors to embrace the new line and find a way to help the system be more successful.
It’s easy, of course, for us to make these moves sound simple and straightforward. But sometimes just the decision to go in a new direction is a meaningful first step.•
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