Circle may close to cars for Super Bowl week

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It’s the day after.

The day after Super Bowl Sunday.

It’s go time for members of Indianapolis’ 2012 Super Bowl Host Committee.

“On Monday, all eyes will turn to Indianapolis,” Mayor Greg Ballard said in Dallas Friday. “We’ll be on the clock.”

About 70 host committee, city and state officials were in Dallas last week, and they’ll be taking a few days this week to “download information” about what they learned,” said Host Committee Chairman Mark Miles.

They aren’t wasting any time. Actually, the host committee has been in high gear for quite a while. But Host Committee CEO Allison Melangton told IBJ last week, that it’s time to kick it up a notch.

Melangton and Miles are working on a whole batch of initiatives, not the least of which is a comprehensive plan to deal with the weather. More on that in two weeks, Miles said.

Melangton is also trying to raise money, though she wouldn’t say how much, for a major entertainment endeavor on Monument Circle in the week-long run-up to the Super Bowl next February.

Melangton said it was a little premature to divulge too many details, but did say that the event would be held on multiple nights, maybe even nightly, and that the Circle would be closed to vehicular traffic and turned into a pedestrian mall. Sources close to the organizers said a music component could be a part of the festivities. Melangton hopes to have details of the event nailed down in a month or so.

Melangton was also busy last week arranging for the folks from the Dallas host committee to come to Indianapolis near the end of this month, to help teach Indianapolis officials what they learned during this year’s Super Bowl.

That may seem odd considering Dallas and Indianapolis could be competing for future Super Bowls. Officials from both cities have said they’d like to get on a regular rotation as Super Bowl hosts alongside Miami and New Orleans.

But NFL sources said officials from Dallas and Indianapolis have forged a first-of-its kind alliance to share information about Super Bowl host city operations. As part of that alliance, Ballard spent part of Friday meeting with Dallas mayor Tom Leppert and other city officials.

“We know how difficult this job is; we understand well the surprises that can come with hosting a Super Bowl,” said Tony Fay, vice president of Dallas’ host committee. “We also know how amazing an opportunity it is for a city to host a worldwide event like a Super Bowl, so we’re eager to help Indianapolis any way we can.”

Part of Dallas' eagerness to help may have to do with Dallas’ desire to host the NCAA Final Four at Cowboys Stadium, and its interest in tapping into Indianapolis officials’ knowledge from regularly hosting that event.

Still, Miles said, the help is welcome.

“I think there is a special relationship between Dallas’ host committee and ours,” Miles said. “Operationally and financially, we think this relationship and these meetings are really going to help us. We hope to take any surprises out of the equation of hosting this event.”

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