City: $60 million needed for Monument Circle overhaul

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Redesigning Monument Circle to make the local landmark and the streets intersecting it more pedestrian-friendly could cost $60 million, the city of Indianapolis announced Friday morning.

The project would entail reconstruction of the brick-paved Circle and adjacent blocks along Meridian Street and Market Street. Meridian would be improved from Washington Street to Ohio Street, and Market Street would be upgraded from Alabama Street to Capitol Avenue.

The design phase could start by the end of the year and would last through 2015, with construction starting in 2016. Construction, however, is predicated on funding, which would come from federal, state and city dollars, in addition to private donations.

“We really want to get more people on the Circle,” project manager Cynthia Bowen said. “It is the largest public space in the city of Indianapolis.”

The project would involve total reconstruction of curbs, sidewalks, driving lanes, parking lanes  and subsurface infrastructure. In addition, the city hopes to make the area more pedestrian-friendly by possibly adding green space and signage.

The city said a reconstruction is necessary because for years it’s been spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on maintenance that doesn’t address a long-term solution. Much of the infrastructure is in a state of disrepair and more than 30 years old.    

“To address failing brick work, a deteriorating concrete base and aging utility infrastructure, a complete reconstruction is needed,” the city said in its written materials.

The Circle dates back at least as far as 1821, when it was included in the Plat of the Town of Indianapolis. It surrounded the intended site of the governor's house, according to "The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis." The Soldiers and Sailors Monument was erected between 1888 and 1901.

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