updated: 5/10/2013 1:12:25 PM

City Cuts Ribbon on Cultural Trail

InsideINdianaBusiness.com Report

The $63 million Indianapolis Cultural Trail is officially ready for use. A ribbon cutting ceremony this morning marked the opening of the 12-year-long project that connects five downtown cultural districts through bicycle paths and walkways.

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May 10, 2013

News Release

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Federal, state and local officials, philanthropists and residents gathered today in downtown Indianapolis for the official ribbon-cutting of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail: A Legacy of Gene & Marilyn Glick. After 12 years of planning, six years of construction, and $63 million from federal transportation funding and private donations, the eight-mile Cultural Trail connects the five downtown cultural districts, greenway trails and bicycle lanes, creating regional connectivity beyond downtown Indianapolis. It also connects to the sixth cultural district, Broad Ripple, through the Monon Trail at 10th Street.

Built for nearly every form of transportation except cars, the Cultural Trail connects users to the front door or within one block of every major arts, culture, heritage, sports and entertainment venue in downtown Indianapolis.

“That’s one of the main reasons why there’s nothing else quite like it in the world,” said Brian Payne, President and CEO of Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF) and The Indianapolis Foundation, the lead partner with the City of Indianapolis and the man behind the original idea. “Other urban trails around the world take you out of the urban environment. The Cultural Trail’s purpose is to connect and celebrate the best of Indianapolis while offering a beautiful journey along the way.”

In 2006, Project for Public Spaces (PPS) conducted research around the globe to discover what, if any, projects exist that are similar to the Cultural Trail and how we might learn from those best practices. At the time, PPS reported that “there’s really nothing quite like it.” In a 2010 article entitled “Bold Moves and Brave Actions,” PPS selected the Indianapolis Cultural Trail as one of the five boldest and bravest projects of its kind around the world and the only project for all of North America. Project for Public Spaces is a New York-based nonprofit planning, design and educational organization that works with cities around the world.

“The Cultural Trail is a transformative project that will play an important role in encouraging connectivity and economic development for downtown Indy,” said Mayor Greg Ballard. “We thought big with this one. The trail also connects downtown to many other parts of our community via bike lanes and greenway trails that extend throughout the city.”

In 2010, the Cultural Trail successfully competed against 1,400 proposals from around the country and received $20.5 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation through its Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program, funded through the Recovery Act. The TIGER grant criteria looked for projects that would help build and repair infrastructure; contribute to economic competitiveness; improve quality of living and working environments and the experience for residents; improve energy efficiency and the environment by reducing reliance on oil and gas emissions; improve safety of transportation facilities; and quickly create and preserve jobs to stimulate the economy. Projects that applied an innovative approach through strong collaborations among a broad range of participants and/or integration of transportation with other public service efforts were also preferred. The $20.5 million paid for construction of 4.5 miles of the Trail’s 8 miles.

“President Obama has made it a priority to provide Americans with greater transportation options,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “At the Department of Transportation, we’re doing that by supporting projects like this one that provide affordable, reliable and safe alternative to get around the city. We are thrilled to see the example that Indianapolis is setting for the rest of the country as more communities include bikes and pedestrians as they plan for the future.”

U.S. Representative André Carson (IN-7) helped lead the Indiana delegation to support the Cultural Trail’s federal funding proposal.

"The Cultural Trail is a shining example of how all levels of government can work together to improve our community and better connect us to one another. It shows how investing in our transportation infrastructure - especially through innovative projects like this - brings jobs and development to our city, state and nation,” said Representative Carson.

“Get Down On It,” Saturday, May 11

More than 75 different programs and activities are planned along the Cultural Trail and in each Cultural District. Most programs are scheduled between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. Activities range from Two Wheels One City, Lemonade Day, Asian Fest, and Indiana Ave.’s live stage, to outdoor films, live animals, chalk art, live dance, jump-roping, acrobats, magicians, yoga and fitness classes and hot-air balloon rides.

Join the Parasol and IPS Marching Band Parade, 10 a.m.

At 10 a.m., the public is invited to decorate an umbrella, or parasol, and join four Indianapolis Public School high school marching bands from Crispus Attucks, Arsenal Tech, Shortridge and Broad Ripple as they march from Indiana Avenue, White River State Park, Fountain Square and Mass Ave towards City Market. By 11:30 a.m., the bands will converge into one band to play “Get Down On It.” Following the bands, Two Wheels One City, a bicycle festival and fundraiser for Indycog, will begin at City Market. Around noon, three IPS high school drumlines from Marshall, Northwest and Washington will lead people back out into the Cultural Districts to enjoy lunch and afternoon activities.

“Get Down On It” is a partnership between Indianapolis Cultural Trail, Inc., Central Indiana Community Foundation and the City of Indianapolis.

For a full schedule and map of activities visit: www.IndyCulturalTrail.org/GetDownOnIt.

Source: Indy Cultural Trail Inc.

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