Public spaces belong to everyone. We believe downtown Indy should have vibrant and diverse gathering places, where all are welcomed. YOU are the key to bringing this vision to life in this community art project.
The Mission? Capture Central Indiana residents’ opinions, memories and suggestions of four spaces: Monument Circle, the Canal, Georgia Street & Lugar Plaza (at the City-County Building).
Submit below to make your voice heard! We accept photos, text, video, and/or audio.
PLEASE NOTE: Submissions may be selected to be used in an audio/video art installation. Please provide a phone number or email address to be contacted for additional commentary.
Click on the below images to read or listen to people’s input about downtown’s public spaces.
About 8 years ago I started working at a job Downtown where I met the coolest people. After work sometimes, my co-workers and I would walk along the Canal talking and would eventually end up going out for drinks. It's always a great memory for me - that was a special time in my life and I always think fondly of the Canal - I still see many of those people to this day!
Downtown is of, by, and for the rich, the entitled, and sports fans. My family can't afford a Colts game, Ruth's Chris, or St. Elmo's. Georgia Street during events is jammed full of entitled drunks being obnoxious. Car-centric streets downtown are full of speeding cars ignoring pedestrians (zero speed or traffic enforcement by IMPD downtown) , and illegally-operated electric rental scooters forcing their way down the sidewalks make downtown even less hospitable to bicyclists on the streets, and pedestrians everywhere. So why should I care to see MORE public dollars invested downtown? How about investing those public dollars in bike/pedestrian infrastructure OUTSIDE downtown, so that low-income Indy residents (who can't afford to live or recreate downtown) can actually enjoy the benefits of that investment? Forget downtown, and let the rich have it.
Create.connect.collab believes in being monumental, gathering monumental voices, and doing monumental things! Each time our amazing members gather to move the needle, the downtown area is always at the center of the conversation.
The circle has been the meeting spot for many, and we LOVE to see it! Access to places with such depth and history gives us the inspiration we need to DREAM BIG!
As we love to include the city, we LOVE as the backdrop for the content we love to create!
What was your last (or most memorable) experience on Monument Circle, the Canal, Lugar Plaza, or Georgia Street? Was it good, bad, or neutral? Why?
Went for a walk around Lugar Plaza and Monument Circle last week. Music played at both places, which is unneeded noise.
Do these spaces feel like they’re part of “your” city—a place for you and your family and friends? Why or why not?
Yes, they feel like places to be and I enjoy them with family and friends.
Where is your favorite public place to hang out downtown? Why?
The Canal is my favorite. Walking around is enjoyable as it is a car-free zone.
What are your hopes for the future of these spaces? How could they better serve you? Your family? Your friends?
I would hope these places are maintained as they age. I would hope there would be enforcement of the laws and rules, e.g. no motorized vehicles on the Canal.
What do you love about the culture of Indianapolis? What makes you proud to live here? Do these spaces reflect those values?
I know a lot of culture creators in Indianapolis. I am enriched by these connections. It's the people I take pride in.
Walking around downtown, there’s a lack of places for little kids. Even Colts playground is mostly for teenagers and adults smoking weed.
Every time I want to enjoy outdoors with my little girl, I drive to north (Carmel, Fishers). Unfortunately downtown isn’t made for families.
Indianapolis is full of beautiful public spaces. At times, I've seen these spaces utilized in very engaging, culturally rich ways, such as with this past year's Swish festivities or with Big Car's Spark programming on Monument Circle. Other times, I feel the spaces are underutilized.
I would love to see the city invest more into regular programming and partnerships that bring more life to downtown public spaces on a regular basis. Rather than having it be a surprise to come across something fun at one of these spaces, I believe it should be more of an expectation that there will always be something engaging going on at them. I'd love to be a part of this conversation going forward, if it's something you all are interested in making happen.
Outdoor public spaces have been integral to my health during covid. I have brain cancer and am immunocompromised, but I try to get some fresh air and exercise when I can. I often walk along the Cultural Trail and have been happily surprised to see live music on Monument Circle and Lugar Plaza. I hope to see more of this activity in our public spaces.
My hope for Indianapolis is that community leaders will begin prioritizing the residents who make our communities rich and vibrant. Indianapolis is more than a place for tourism and sports. Those of us who live here are passionate and enthusiastic, and while we certainly love showing the world how special it is, it can be disheartening when the developments and improvements are made with tourism at top of mind - not residents.
We need a city for people, not cars. Place making and human-centric design concepts are critical. It is so disappointing to see so much of downtown dedicated to cars in the form of 4+ lane wide roads, and TONS of parking. Let's repurpose what we have to make a place that is better for everyone. People who move around downtown without a car should be the priority, not those who bring a car. Cars have their place, but being able to park on every block and drive everywhere at the expense of everyone else is not the right priority. We can't afford to suburbanize downtown with parking and cars.
We have an amazing pool of talent in Indy that is underutilized in our public spaces. Musicians, artists, writers, poets, comedians, and so much more. One of my favorite experiences was dancing to Sweet Poison Victim performing live on Monument Circle. I think all of these spaces could be activated with inclusive and engaging programming that elevates local talent. I'd love to do a comedy walk on the Cultural Trail or along the canal, watching standup comedians perform. Or a program at the plaza discussing urban ecology. I'd love to learn more about urban bats - where they sleep, where they feed, and the best places to watch them at sunset. I hope whoever re-envisions programming for these public spaces isn't afraid to be curious, quirky, and take a chance. Leverage and celebrate the assets we have here.
As someone who works downtown, I love visiting Monument Circle. It's a wonderful place where all kinds of people congregate for events, protests, and just hanging out. I love how Monument Circle represents the focal point of our rich and diverse city. While I live in the suburbs, I have so much love for downtown and want to see it thrive. We can do that by improving public programs, better infrastructure, and community engagements. Local residents should far more of a say in their city than they have now. If we can do these things, Indianapolis will only become better.
I love our city. Let that be said. Downtown could always use more to draw attention to everything we have going in in the central sector and surrounding areas such as Fountain Square and Irvington. I would love to see more events take place downtown that would usher in people that tend to avoid downtown thinking that there's not much going on down there outside of restaurants and bars. A cultural comedy hike along the cultural trail (comedians set up at specific locations to give folks a breather on their walk), pop up concerts on Georgia Street, poetry on the Monument. Anything to get more people to come embrace this city and the arts.
Indy today is the result of 50 years of regressive policies that focused on automobiles and sprawl. Closing Mass Ave, Monument Circle, and Broad Ripple to auto traffic would do wonders for this city, but a wholesale approach at better transit, better public spaces all around Marion County, and lessening the impact of heat and food deserts is needed to make Indy the city it really can be.
I would love to see more of a focus on art and culture in Indianapolis! This is a great city for food and sports, but it's really lacking in music and other arts. It would be so cool to have a music city in the midwest rather than just ones in the south and on the coasts.
Downtown Indy is already great to those who want to see it that way. If we want to reach those who don’t yet see it (or actively try not to) change is needed! The Circle is one of the best locations this city has to offer, and yet it is almost completely wasted except for the handful of markets and large scale activations per year. MORE art, MORE retail, MORE different light shows honoring other topics besides the patriotic one that plays often. The Circle needs to be a largely pedestrian location. I know some big players on the circle would make that difficult (looking at you Hilbert, Columbia Club, etc)...but it’s worth the money/persuasion in the long run. Indy has improved so much with public art and artistic installations, but there’s always room for more! Murals, sculptures, etc are both interesting and serve as free marketing for the city when people post and take pictures for social media.
More festivals in the area near the war memorials! I’m not talking one or two giant alcohol or food festivals, but more frequent markets, mid/small performers, etc. City sponsored workout classes or dog meetups could work too!
We must remove all BLM grafitti from the Soldiers and Sailors monument and anywhere else downtown. The people who did it should have been stopped in the act and arrested. We need a new plaque along the canal to remember the young nurse who was murdered for daring to say that All Lives Matter.
Where can I recycle electronics and batteries? That's a rhetorical question. I know several places, but none downtown, and none are well marked. Even regular residential recycling is difficult, especially compared to, say, trash pick-up.
Mass Ave and the Circle practically beg to be pedestrian. And the restaurants and bars along them would be so much better if they could expand into the street (which they failed to meaningfully do during the pandemic). In real cities, people walk!
The lack of a compelling downtown art scene is clear and I won't belabor that here. Also missing is space for artists to do their thing. It looks like there will be a lot of space coming available downtown post-pandemic; that, in addition to the flight or retail. Reserve some (or much) of that space for community-building groups, and for artists. The space should be experimental and open, and most of all affordable for artists just getting their bearings. Arbiters of who gets access to space should be less market oriented and more community and merit oriented.
How do we not have any co-op groceries or dry goods stores?!?! Good Earth in Broad Ripple is a great example, as is Bloomingfoods Co-op in Bloomington. That's the local vibe we need when it comes to groceries downtown!
Our engagement was perfect simply because it was authentic to us - simple and intimate. A beautiful night on the Indianapolis Canal just behind the Indiana State Museum. We are both Indy born and raised.
We don't have mountains or oceans or even lakes of a notable size. That doesn't mean we can't provide residents with ample outdoor activities. Downtown needs easy access to a skate park, mountain biking trails, and trail running. Some of these activities could be housed in existing downtown parks, and maybe even abandoned retail and office space (e.g., rock climbing and skate boarding inside Circle Center Mall!). Increased access to the White River for swimming, kayaking, canoeing, floating, and camping are also key. These amenities exist within or just outside of 465, but getting to them is a depressing affair that requires driving through a strip-mall hellscape.
My most memorable experience is from the Super Bowl here in Indianapolis on Georgia Street. I saw concerts there from old school musicians that I really loved and had a great time with friends. Unfortunately, I’ve found that I haven’t had an opportunity to enjoy those kinds of experiences after the Super Bowl. Not only because of the pandemic but frequently I wonder about the local programming that could be available for the Canal, the Circle, and Georgia Street so we’re not just using those spaces as convention points of reference but also placemaking for the communities who live here and want to get out and be outside engaging with each other. I think there is a lost opportunity there for a lot of organizations that serve us every day.
What I love about Indy is the collaborative space that Indy is. It’s very Midwestern. It’s your “next door neighbor” kind of vibe, everyone is willing to pitch in and collaborate with one another. With regard to the spaces we talked about, usually the only time you see those collaborations come up is when there are big events. On Georgia Street specifically, the only time you really see stuff happening there is for Colts football games or basketball games with the Pacers. I feel like really Indy is underrated as far as how much collaboration there really is and how much potential there is. There isn’t enough being drawn to small businesses that exist to really cultivate that thriving culture for small businesses in the city. I think it’s more driven towards out of towners than it is specifically for Indy locals themselves. So, if there were more events year round for small businesses to put on, I feel like the locals would really tap into that and that would help spread more awareness around small businesses that exist. Because a lot of people don’t see these until there are these really big events going on like March Madness or the Indy 500 or the Brickyard, or something like that. I feel like Indy needs to make its mark for something more than just the big national events that go on in the city.
Back in college, there was an event on the canal in which there was a large silent disco. So me and my friends went to this disco one night. It was so beautiful, there were a ton of people there, the music was really good, it was a very fun event. It was very unique and unexpected and I had a blast. I would love to see more of that.
When we just moved here, my family and I went down to the Canal and we walked around. We rented one of the bicycles, the four-person bicycles, and we just did the whole round. And now, whenever we have family in town, there’s always a conversation about going back there and renting one of the bigger ones so that everybody can hop on and cycle with us.
Idea #1 Work to progressively remove cars from Monument Circle.
1) Circle Sundays - Monument Circle open to pedestrians, bikes only on Sunday afternoons year-round
2) Circle Weekends - Monument Circle open to pedestrians, bikes only on Saturday and Sunday afternoons year-round
3) Circle Weekends #2 - Monument Circle open to pedestrians, bikes only all day Saturday & Sunday year-round
4) Circle Weekends & Evenings - Monument Circle open to pedestrians, bikes only all day Saturday & Sunday year-round and weeknights
5) Circle open to pedestrians, bikes only year-round 24/7/365
Idea #2 - Install retractable bollards so that when Monument Circle is closed to motor vehicles, police presence is not needed to close the Circle.
Idea #3 - install benches, bike parking on Monument Circle so it is a welcoming place. As it is, people sit on the steps of the Monument primarily because there are no other places to sit.
My husband Ken and I moved to Indy four years ago. We were awed by Monument Circle. It was the first oil painting I created of Indianapolis scenes. It's one of the best public spaces of any American city and I wanted to convey that thought in this painting. Now we all have to work on keeping it clean.
My most recent and memorable moment of downtown was this quote written in chalk at the canal. I don’t remember what the quote said (it was really late at night) but I remember it being very colorful and well written and I’d like to see more of that.
I love Downtown Indy and even more so the heart of the city, Monument Circle. Circle of Lights was my favorite project to work on every year because it brought everyone together - it created human connection, tradition and memories.
My proposal: Downtown Indy, Inc. needs to program Monument Circle or partner with someone who will.
I program 4 public spaces at least twice a day. Is it hard and a lot of work? Yes. It is worth it? Undoubtedly. But I had to leave Indianapolis to do it. It doesn't have to be big and it doesn't have to be expensive, but it does need constantly fed until it is sustainable.
There is no perfect model for programming and developing. But the issues so many people have with Downtown Indy right now include safety and nothing to draw people back. CONSISTANT programming helps on all fronts - it gives people something to do, it helps small business, it helps lower crime. Give people a space to be proud of.
My hope is to come back home and program this space.
Happy to help in anyway I can.
Downtown Indianapolis and I have always had an interesting relationship. It’s the place where I learned about protest, it’s where I’ve celebrated some of my top life accomplishments with friends and family, where i’ve shared romantic walks with lovers, where i’ve come to have solo dates because those are important too. #selfcare I’ve also been out out of Circle Centre Mall and harassed by volunteer security and law enforcement. Layers. Growing up, downtown was a special occasion destination. I still remember my first time going to what in 1995 was referred to as “the new mall” to see Space Jam with my dad. My mom had five kids, me being the oldest, and it was a lot for her to haul all of us anywhere let alone an expensive downtown with complicated parking situations. There were not, and still aren’t, a lot of affordable options for family dining or excursions so our trips as a tribe were far and few. On these rare visits, I was always enamored by the lights and bustle of it all. Until early adulthood, this was the closest I’d come to being in a big city. As a teenager, I had a contentious relationship with downtown - whether it was a random trip to walk around the mall with friends or Expo/Classic festivities, I never felt embraced. It was clear from the overwhelming police presence and the attitudes of shop/restaurant owners that my poor, young, Black presence wasn’t welcomed. Certainly not on the level I saw others welcomed like suburban/rural folks coming to town for a dinner at St. Elmos or the droves of convention attendees with corporate plastic to burn. As an adult with some access to disposable income, I’m able to do more downtown but it’s still a feeling of conflict there. I hate nightclubs and outside of drinking and eating, I have to wait for someone to throw an event I’m interested in to truly engage. It’s also challenging to step out and see unhoused and hungry people on damn near every street corner. Outside of a kind words and perhaps a few bucks if I have it on me, I feel helpless to positively impact their experience. Especially when I know that some privileged/powerful folks would rather they just disappear entirely. I believe downtown belongs to them as much as it belongs to me and anyone else who calls Indy home. I know that this may sound a bit like a gripe but I think that if our downtown is to truly become MONUMENTAL it must be a place that embraces everyone. Downtown belongs to us all.
Not everyone wants to be housed. It's a hard idea to wrap your head around, but necessary if Indianapolis wants to be a friendly, happy, healthy place to live. There are many people who want to be housed but who are under-housed or without a home. They need resources and public support. There are also people for whom no amount of support will make them swallow the American ethic of home-ownership. These people need to be respected, and they need to be given some space within the city. City officials currently cut down the small copses, bosques, and sheltered areas where their homeless compatriots settle. The usual explanations have to do with safety and public hygiene, and it is to some degree understandable, but it is nonetheless an aggressive---and ultimately unproductive---tactic.
Indianapolis used to be at the forefront of intra- and inter-urban public transport. We can be again. It's time to heavily (re-)invest in transit options besides cars. In addition to being a boon for the economy, the environment, and people's well-being, it would be nice to not be the laughingstock of peer cities.
To look upon Indianapolis's built environment is to see a city not run by people or their government, but by uninspired, profit-hungry "developers" (in quotes because "develop" implies a maturation or advancement, and most real-estate developers move in the opposite direction; a regression). Indianapolis was once at the cutting edge of architecture, boasting a signature downtown look and feel while also allowing idiosyncratic, charming neighborhoods to develop their own styles. No longer the case. Most of the new builds in the downtown area look generic and feel flimsy. It is as if our depressing penchant for chain restaurants has spilled over into our architectural language. Developers and the architects they employ cannot be trusted to improve the situation. Developers have every incentive to (i) deliver bland ideas and (ii) implement them poorly. Their designs play to the lowest common denominator, their builds are meant to just meet our already inadequate building code, and their legal obligation---even when subsidized by public monies---is to yield personal rather than social profit. As such, the city needs a board or agency to vet architectural proposals on a variety of criteria, including design and aesthetic merit, environmental sustainability, social sensibility, and so forth. Projects failing to meet these and other publicly-minded, forward-thinking criteria should not be allowed to move forward. Sometimes no development is better than false "development", regardless of the purported economic ramifications. Better yet, the aforementioned public agency or group of civic-minded architects should actively encourage good design, helping citizens determine what they want and need in their city and ensuring that those needs are addressed through good design.
Cities feel like cities when there is an organic element to them. The macro sense of order and planning is, at the street level, undone by bustling, often conflicting sensations. Indy has very little of that chaotic urban feel that gets you charged and excited. We have nice murals, but no real graffiti scene. We have wide avenues, but no street vendors. We have attempts at multi-purpose buildings, but there's no invitation to go into those buildings, either because of unwelcoming occupants or poor architectural design. We need to allow for more experimentation, reuse, and repurposing of our public and private spaces, built and natural. When Indianapolis citizens have a bit of free reign to try things---ventures that may or may not work out in the long run, but that are nonetheless laudable in terms of innovation, and are "productively shocking" in terms of waking the rest of us up to alternative paths---we can start to call ourselves a city.
Most cities (and towns, and hamlets, etc) turn their waterways into bustling, attractive public and commercial districts. The Indy canal is sort of public in that it's open, except that there's no reason to actually visit. The few cultural institutions along it make anemic use thereof, and too much of it is office space or private residences. Nothing about it seems urban. The few restaurants and bars that have tried to make-a-go along the canal inevitably fold because there is no critical mass. The canal should be a destination, with enough active spaces of art and bonhomie (e.g., eating and drinking) that visitors can bounce along until they find what suites their mood.
Buildings, believe it or not, can have colors other than grey, brown, black, and blue. City residents will never believe their city capable of real, structural improvement or urban excitement if we can't see even its most basic expression on our city streets. Let's get us some of those colorful buildings. (Meanwhile, the owners of the one half-way interesting building in terms of color are trying to convert it from a beautiful, shining gold to the usual drab slate blue.)
Not that we have that many buildings of notable height, but when you do achieve some altitude downtown, there's nothing going on on any of the roof real-estate you see below you. If you want to be a real city, you need density. If you want density, you need height. And if you want height, you might as well make livable or otherwise useful space all the way up, including the top of a building. Greenery on top of a building is not only a smart move environmentally, but its essential for human living in the city, who need as much nature in their urban area as possible.
Get rid of all the surface and above-ground parking garages. Burying them and building atop costs more money? Fine! It's money well spent. Cities are for people, not cars. Downtown Indianapolis does not look like a city; it looks like a sad car show. On top of the painful aesthetics, the abundance of parking means people won't experiment with public transit, cycling, and other human- and environment-friendly modes of movement.
The highway's visibly cutting through downtown increased segregation and decreased public transport. And now we're doubling down on them with the recent I69/I70 split "update" (as if you can really update an idea that should have died in the 1970s). There's no comfortable way to enter downtown. Rather than charming neighborhoods and bustling thoroughfares, getting to downtown from any direction requires crossing a concrete and car-ridden threshold. If we can't take it down, then bury it. Boston's Big Dig was monumentally over budget and behind schedule, but it was still totally worth it. If we can't bury the highway then find some other way to get it out of eyesight.
A few things I think downtown Indy needs: better roads, infrastructure, more all-ages music venues, free high-quality after school programs, affordable daycare, a higher median household income, mental health services,
I've said for years that despite Downtown Indy being a pretty place there was nothing for most Black people to do there yet I saw ALL races and cultures there on the 4th of July and on Friday and Saturday nights. Its like the people WANT to come downtown but there just isn't much infrastructure there for anyone that isn't a tourist.
Multi cultural festivals. Have a main stage with traditional entertainment from different cultures. Food booths from different cultures. Merch from different cultures. Circle the circle with them and it's sure to be a good time. How bout a art festival featuring art from diverse cultures showing off their art on the canal.
Although the 4 in this promotion are public spaces they are open to EVERYONE. We shouldn't have to make them more "welcoming".
Took our grandson to see the circle. I was so distressed at how dirty it was. The sidewalks and steps need a good power wash frequently. There were also men sleeping on the steps. I did not see any law enforcement protecting the area. I avoid downtown because I don't feel safe. Parking is also always an issue.
Downtown Indianapolis is a great place to sketch people. Roberta and I have been urban sketchers for over two decades. We love live-sketching everywhere, but we particularly enjoy sketching people in public places. We were saddened when people stopped coming Downtown Indy in 2020, but the people are returning and we are pleased to be once again sketching people at Monument Circle, the Canal Walk, the Cultural Trail and other popular & busy public places.
Public Parking ground level... Free. Many major cities offer free public parking lots. GROUND LEVEL, not parking garages. Family and Senior friendly parking. Downtown Indy would be busy if parking would be easily available.
Monument Circle should always be closed to downtown through traffic. We should be able to walk around…on Sundays have art fairs, or, a jazz band. Food kiosks with tables and chairs for enjoyment. Family friendly….think family friendly.
Why would we want to go downtown to visit City Market if we have to have difficulty finding parking, and when we do it’s so expensive we don’t return. City Market should be open on weekends as a tourist destination too. Families would enjoy the variety of food and shopping opportunities. Again, free parking in close proximity. That courtyard in front of City Market should be parking. Safe type parking. Horseshoe style parking lot. One way.
Last, if you want public to enjoy all of downtown…a trolly would be great. Look around to downtown vicinity…..where are there buildings with street level parking that’s vacant off hours. That is available parking…Like the colleges and universities w trolly taking public downtown. “ PARKING”
What the downtown needs most is police. I witnessed a shootout two weeks ago. People don’t feel safe because they are not safe. No person wants to go somewhere that IS NOT Safe!!!! The quote about policing in the article is native and dated. We need more police downtown and people will come. I would also move the homeless out of the area.
While your objective is worthwhile, until the streets are cleared of gangs, guns and daily/nightly violence there is no need to assess. This town is not safe and most Indianapolis residents know it. We are senior citizens and will no longer go downtown for anything. Clean it up first then we will talk.
We are downtown residents and enjoy walking all over the city but we are embarrassed by the trash on our sidewalks, if I was a visitor in town I would not be impressed. Please keep our City clean.Indianapolis deserves better.
I am 69 years young & I actually lived on 10th Street across from the Coco Cola building in the 1950’s before the interstate was built. I worked downtown & taught my children & grandchildren about downtown. I saw it when it was where you went to shop, all dressed up, and in its decline when the malls opened up. I saw it being built back up & I would take my family or guests down to show it off. Then things began to change. I saw an attitude where the police were beginning to be disrespected & crime & homelessness began to increase & I began to realize that it was no longer safe to be there. When the public begins to believe that law enforcement is scary, then we have handed over the reigns to our society to the criminal & the public’s general welfare is ignored. Our Constitution is for the genetic welfare of the people not the criminals. As far as we are concerned, we will probably never come back downtown as we value our safety. When our leaders lack common sense & will allow an agenda to cause lawlessness & fear in our cities, they are the ones destroying our cities. Shame on them! Get our current leaders out & honor our police officers.
For years, construction downtown has meant a restriction of pedestrian access. Too many places downtown are inaccessible by pedestrians, and it should be mandatory to narrow down the driving space on the public streets to create barrier-protected pedestrian spaces and safe crosswalks. The city is often focused on beautifying public spaces, but there is not nearly enough focus towards actually accessing those spaces at all times.
I hope this email does not fall on deaf ears. Downtown is no longer a safe, family fun environment. I have been an Indians season ticket holder for years but if things don't change, we may not renew our season tickets for the 2022 season. In the past, we would go to games and visit bars and restaurants afterwards. We no longer enjoy our after game walks on the canal or drinks in bars near Georgia street.
Memories of Georgia street: Even if we wanted to walk on the sidewalks, there are large groups of underaged kids riding scooters on all of the sidewalks, making it difficult to get around. Why are these minor children (some as young as 11) unaccompanied and out after curfew. There seems to be little to no police presence. The last time I tried to go out after a game on July 1st, I was nearly run over several times by a group of scooters riding illegally on the sidewalk. The streets are riddled with foul language and loud, obnoxious behavior. I only saw one police officer on my walk between the ballpark and Georgia street. We could not even drive south on Pennsylvania for all of the people gathered in the streets in the Wholesale district. The only cop was sitting in his car just watching the lawlessness prevail.
My last memory of the canal was the evening we dined at one of the restaurants and on our walk back to the car very late at night, we were greeted by individuals panhandling. We have not been back to the canal since a young woman was shot and killed on the canal last year.
My last memory of Monument Circle was driving around after my son's graduation dinner at St Elmo's. We rode around looking at all of the busted out windows in the businesses on and surrounding Monument Circle.
Frankly, I do not feel welcome in any of these spaces in my own city. I don't even feel safe in my own city. Get the area cleaned up, get the minors inside after curfew, get the scooters off of the sidewalks, get the partiers out of the middle of the street and perhaps I will go back downtown. Until then, No Way!
I am sure this falls on deaf ears because you don't want to hear the truth. You want to know if police presence makes people not feel welcome to the downtown area. Well, you are WRONG! There are no active police in the area. Lack of laws and enforcement of those laws is driving everyone away.
Monument Circle is so close to being a truly great public space. I’ve watch friends propose there, been to wonderful rallies like Stop Asian Hate and Black Lives Matter, and have great memories of events like the giant Christmas tree.
However, the extremely off-putting music, the tacky patriotic show, the focus on cars over pedestrians, and the lack of bike parking turn it into a spot that appears to try too hard to appeal to suburban and rural tourists instead of being an innately good public space in and of itself for people who live in the area to gather and spend time in.
Grapevine Naptown's Kickback For Local Jams is the first event I've been to in a while especially one with so many black artists of all kinds which I love to see. I want to start attending & also participating in more events like this one. The hospitality and creativity was definitely felt at the event. I hope to see more like it.
There are tons of abandoned builds that could be invested in. They could become studios for artist or gallery space for artist who don’t get many opportunities to show there work in other galleries. No matter what the buildings are use for they’d be better off then they are now as wasted abandoned space.
I enjoy downtown. It's come a long way from what it used to be. Seems more vibrant. I feel like I'm in a city when I'm downtown but I'm from Carmel for what it's worth. I want our transportation to get better. And we lack shopping for myself and for visitors. We have plenty of housing but no retail to attract people to want to be there - from small shops to bigger stores. In some ways this response is surface-level because that's my relationship with downtown. I just came back from NYC and it was trashy. I hated it. Our downtown is clean. People think it's trashy but compared to other cities its pristine.
Though I went to a high school near Monument Circle and attended many events there, my most memorable experience on the Circle was marching with activists and BLM organizers in June of 2020. It was incredible to see so many people fighting for justice in a state that I do not always associate with racial consciousness and progression. Among many other takeaways from the protests, seeing Hoosiers so committed to each other's well-being served as a reminder that Indianapolis is filled with people dedicated to their community and evolving Indianapolis.
In the future, I would want to see more monuments and art installations commemorating members of the community who have pioneered the way for Indianapolis' lesser-known histories and more recent artistic and civil achievements. Especially the story of the Ransom Place Neighborhood and Indiana Avenue. It is so important to have a holistic view to represent the many faces of Indianapolis' history, not just war monuments.
My absolute favorite place to go downtown is the IPL - Central Libary. You absolutely cannot beat the view, wonderful and helpful staff, and a great sense of community with engaging events all year long.
Downtown post Covid is an opportunity for us to reimagine how to make Indianapolis more vibrant starting with the core of our city. However, there's not much for my daughters to do downtown. Circle Center is dead and there's not many diverse food options beyond steakhouses. My girls are 5 and 2 and beyond the Zoo, I don't think of many options down there to take them. I wish our public spaces had more options for my young girls.
The canal is pure magic to me, because it’s a mile in the heart of an urban space with *no* car crossings. I feel safe letting my children bike to school without keeping them on a short leash. It’s rare to move through a city without fear of toddlers running into traffic.
The most impactful events I ever attended at Monument Circle were protests/demonstrations. I would like to see the monument evolve to reflect that activity, those battles. I'd like to walk by or over plaques with dates, estimated crowd sizes, any casualties and whatever name formal or informal that could describe the protest's mission. Something that documents our (hopefully) progress. Let people bring their kids and show em the times they were there, raising a voice in a throng to make a change.
I've had the greatest most memorable experiences by far at Hi-Fi live music venue on Virginia Ave. I've had really good friends who promoted events there for hip hop/R&B and alternative music. Theres always a great degree of diversity and inclusion with people from all walks of life. The events are always very affordable and always have featured local artists from the community, great venue, food, and interactions.
Enjoying Lugar Plaza on a beautiful Saturday in March with my baby girl. We rode bikes, listened to live music, and sat in comfy beach chairs. We got to experience the energy and hype of March Madness without ever stepping foot into an arena or seeing a single basketball game. That’s pretty special. That’s Indy!
Today’s event was great at kick back. In regards to Georgia St, monument circle and the rest of the locations mentioned, I haven’t attended many events due to it not being catered to my interest. I would love to see spaces like that in Indianapolis utilized for my culture as well! It’d be great to experience and make me more proud of my city.
I love that Indy is a big, little city. I was born and raised in Mississippi. Being in a mid-sized city in the Midwest, I had no idea that this city would offer big city vibes with a southern hospitality flow. It’s easy to make connections with people here, but the spaces are far and few in between it seems like. That’s changed across the last 5 years I’ve been here in the city, but I’m looking forward to seeing this city grow into the potential that I see for it. I think my favorite place to hang out is downtown- particularly wherever the music and crowd is. I vibe with people. I want to see more spaces for black and brown folks to connect and build community.
As a Hometown Kid of Indianapolis, Indiana born and raised, there is nothing more special to me in Downtown Indianapolis than The Canal. From its travels pass historical monuments, exciting parks, & amazing museums, The Canal bridges together all the greatness that is Indianapolis, Indiana in a beautiful and serene way. The twist and turns of The Canal weave their way through the near west corridor of Downtown as the true heartbeat of history, events, & fun for all who enjoy its paths in Indianapolis!
One of my favorite recent memories was a Sunday spent romping around downtown Indy on the Handlebar with friends last fall. We stopped at several local breweries and of course hopped off for photo opps in front of our favorite, iconic Indy spots, including Monument Circle. I look forward to more weekends of playing and exploring in our beautiful city!
I love downtown Indy! Being a transplant from Michigan I enjoy the arts, live music, restaurants and events that downtown has to offer. The small business scene downtown is what keeps me coming back -- I love all of the great food and shops. As the city starts to re-open I would like to see how they can safely enhance economic opportunities for small businesses by providing pop-up shops or attractions along the canal.
Georgia Street should be programmed once a week to once a month during summer months when nothing is going on with a concert series that promotes people coming downtown. This could be a great way to generate some money towards the cultural trails and would generate life and sales for the businesses that are all located downtown. This could be something very special. I believe you could partner with a local radio station like WTTS that could provide regional or nationally known bands and would help promote it.
My last experience of Georgia Street was going to see all the artwork exhibited which my fiancé had one of his poems installed on a window. It made me so proud to see the city support its artists.I feel like this is a great little gem tucked in the city that my family could enjoy, but unfortunately I hadn't experienced Georgia Street outside of city events.As a designer, Georgia Street feels like the pedestrian is celebrated, and I love that.My favorite place has been the Canal because I have created great memories there. I think the most successful places are those that have food, places to sit, sunlight, water and green space, and the Canal has it all. I may not have experienced Georgia Street as much as the Canal, but it definitely has great energy that I am open to exploring more.I am not a Hoosier native, but I have grown to love Indianapolis, because it is the place I have come to be an adult, professional, wife, mother, business owner, mentor and lover of the arts.
While you are promoting the canal, you need to be telling the truth about the conditions here. Our house was shot at and window blown out. Every night there are juveniles outside on the canal walk. I know the police are stepping up patrols, but they keep on coming. The noise is outrageous. Is anyone being arrested for disobeying curfew? Is there a curfew?
What is happening is significantly depressing the area. Residents have to put up with the juveniles EVERY NIGHT!!! This is supposed to be an UPSCALE AREA. It's not anymore. Property values are going to dip and no one is going to want to live here. I read about the amount of crime in Indianapolis!! The Canal walk is listed # 5 as worst neighborhoods in Indianapolis.
Something needs to be done!!!!
What was your last (or most memorable) experience on Monument Circle, the Canal, Lugar Plaza, or Georgia Street? Was it good, bad, or neutral?
My most recent memorable experience was being able to witness my art colleague and friend's mural being selected to showcase on monument circle. It is a painting of her two little girls. It made me proud to see her work being recognized.
Do these spaces feel like they’re part of “your” city—a place for you and your family and friends? More recently yes. During the BLM movement, it shined a light on just how much discrimination was and is a part of our city and because of the movement, it has allowed a feeling of embrace and I hope this continues
Have your feelings or opinions about these downtown spaces changed over time? Yes. When I was younger, coming downtown wasn't something we did "for fun or culture". Now I see more interest from young and old wanting to enjoy all that downtown offers...art, culture, restaurants, activities and family time.
Where is your favorite public place to hang out downtown?
I really enjoy the canal. Very relaxing and tranquil.
What are your hopes for the future of these spaces? How could they better serve you? Your family? Your friends?
I hope that downtown indy continues to allow the community to be a voice. When we listen to those who wish to have and contribute towards a memorable experience, magic can happen!
What do you love about the culture of Indianapolis? I love that Indianapolis is becoming more diverse and a mixing pot of all ethnicities.
What makes you proud to live here? It makes me proud to see progress and Indy can and will be an amazing city by setting the bar. I believe more people will chose to live here in the near future.
Do these spaces reflect those values? Slowly but surely!
My best memory of being Downtown is when I got to plan and be a bridesmaid in a wedding that took place on Monument Circle. I loved being a part of bringing together a couple's forever union. I've seen so many weddings take place on The Circle, and I look forward to seeing many more ❤️
My family and I love to walk along the canal when we go to White River State Park, the State Museum, or the Eiteljorg Museum. One of my fondest memories of the canal is when we participated in Down Syndrome Indiana's Buddy Walk. There was such a sense of community and support, and the canal offered a beautiful place for us to celebrate.
I live within walking distance of Monument Circle, the Canal and downtown--it's a huge reason I picked where I live. I sometimes feel like the city activates and promotes these spaces for visitors, seeing them as amenities to attract conventions or out-of-towners, rather than thinking about the everyday ways that nearby residents use these places to relax, to exercise, to meet up with friends, and generally enjoy a third space and improve our quality of life. The "Back Downtown" marketing after the pandemic bothered me a lot for this reason: one, it felt premature given everything we knew about preventing the spread of covid, and two, some of us never left downtown--we're always here. That framing really captured the mindset that downtown is for visitors. (I also think that framing reinforced the idea that downtown was somehow unsafe or unclean, and had been "fixed" for white suburban visitors: we have to do better, civic leaders!)
I'd love to see more investments in things like seating, native plant landscaping (I hate how treeless downtown is), and cleanliness to make sure these places are welcoming every day, not just when some big event is coming through. I think there are many ways to make this equitable, especially the opportunity to create employment opportunities around the needs I outlined: Local artists and artisans can design seating. Hire people (in permanent, full-time, better-minimum-wage jobs) to clean downtown public spaces. I used to live in New York and the crews who cleaned public spaces had good public sector jobs and the cleaning/maintenance of these spaces was visible--you saw the effort being made to make the spaces welcoming. Don't just rely on a few big photo op volunteer projects; think about how to create jobs (and what kinds of career pathways might help the formerly incarcerated or other folks who have a hard time finding work).
The last time we went downtown together was for an arts market on the circle. It was pretty cool but we were desperate for more food and retail options around the Monument. Looking forward to what’s next for downtown Indy.
I have been excited to see an increase in public art and music installations around the Downtown Indy area, especially around large public events in Indy like the NCAA tournament! I am happy to see those programs continue and hope to see them grow.
It is hard to imagine a monument in the city's most prominent space being reduced to a boring holiday decoration. Yet in 1916 African-American sculptor Freeman Murray already recognized the monument failed to commemorate "the war to save the Union and to make universal liberty in this land a fact," and over a century later it remains a curious artifact distorting history in the very heart of the city.
I have been excited to see an increase in public art and music installations around the Downtown Indy area, especially around large public events in Indy like the NCAA tournament!
I am happy to see those programs continue and hope to see them grow.
I have so many memories of visiting our public spaces as a child - and arts & culture is at the center of all of them. Our public spaces should invite, include, represent, and celebrate all residents in our city. They are community canvases for experiences that express who we are and what we stand for - a mirror to see ourselves and to welcome visitors to reflect with us on our past, present, and future. They should serve as dynamic public stages and galleries to showcase Indy’s artistic talent and engage creatives in shaping these experiences and sharing our diverse stories with each other and the world. They should be a constant source of energy, inspiration, pride, engagement - and home - for all who live in and love Indy.
I have enjoyed when my mom has taken me and my brother to both Monument Circle and the Canal. It would be better if there were places where we could sit comfortably in the shade, with food and drinks, and listen to music.
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