Downtown Indy Inc. is forming a committee it hopes will help spur economic sustainability and community support in the downtown area. The organization says the newly-formed Downtown Indy Rebuilding and Recovery Committee will address the economic challenges from COVID-19, as well as social and racial inequity.
“Our intent is to put forth a solution-focused approach to rebuilding Downtown as we navigate the dramatic impact that COVID-19 is having on our Downtown,” said Sherry Seiwert, chief executive officer of Downtown Indy Inc. “We are assembling business and civic leaders representing businesses large and small, private and public to outline essential drivers toward the reemergence of a thriving and inclusive Downtown and a vibrant core.”
The committee will be co-chaired by Lacy Johnson, a partner at Ice Miller LLC in Indianapolis and Thomas McGowan, president of Indianapolis-based Kite Realty Group Trust (NYSE: KRG).
“We are at a critical crossroads for Downtown and we need to demonstrate that Downtown is open and ready to welcome back employees and visitors and encourage them to join the thousands of residents in supporting Downtown businesses struggling through these challenging times,” stated McGowan.
The organization says it is planning an announcement later this week regarding marketing efforts in collaboration with the city of Indianapolis, Visit Indy and other civic partners.
Over the next six months, the organization says committee members will work on the following:
- Assess the existing environmental landscape and information impacting recovery including data collection on business interruption and associated costs, real-time inventory and map of business tenants, timelines for return-to-work from all sectors, consumer confidence trends, and more.
- Seek additional industry-specific input to identify existing barriers preventing stabilization and recovery within each sector-type.
- Support existing Black-owned businesses and seek opportunities to reduce barriers that could lead to an increase in the number of Black-owned businesses.
- Develop and launch hyper-local focused promotions targeted at prospective Downtown consumers from central Indiana.
- Create inclusive and diverse events that build equitable and quality of life experiences balanced against the continued public health crisis and its limitations.
- Review, support and expand quality of life fundamentals for downtown, including continued street cleanliness, beautification, and safety/security issues.
- Assist in identifying additional funding partners and other organizations critical to the long-term success of downtown’s recovery.
“Downtown has become our city’s fastest growing neighborhood — a center for business, hospitality, and tourism, as well as a growing number of individuals and families who call the area home. The success the Mile Square has enjoyed over the last decade is undeniable and we can’t allow the momentum to dissipate even as we continue to address the public health challenges associated with COVID-19,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett.
Members of the committee include:
- Brad Chamber, president, Buckingham Companies
- Tamara Cypress, CSR consultant, Black Onyx Management Inc.
- Mamadou Diallo, owner, J Benzal Menswear
- Rick Fuson, president, Pacers Sports & Entertainment
- Chris Gahl, senior vice president, Visit Indy
- Craig Huse, CEO, Huse Culinary
- Malina Jeffers, cultural entrepreneur, board member of Indianapolis Downtown Marketing Inc.
- Lacy Johnson, partner, Ice Miller LLC
- Angela Smith Jones, deputy mayor, City of Indianapolis
- John Lechleiter, downtown resident
- David Lies, vice president, OneAmerica
- Cebronia Luft, founder and owner, Pavilion at Pan Am
- Thomas McGowan, president, Kite Realty Group Trust
- Derrick Richardson, owner, DR Salon
- Sherry Seiwert, president, Downtown Indy Inc.
- Reverend Mary Slenski, interim rector, Christ Church Cathedral
- Rick Trimpe, vice president, Hertz Investment Group
- Pete Ward, COO, Indianapolis Colts
The organization says the committee will begin meeting the week of July 13 and will eventually draft a tactical blueprint for downtown recovery. The immediate focus aims to build consumer confidence and entice continued and equitable investment in downtown.
“As we look ahead, we recognize the effects of current crises remain and may linger but we stand firm in further recognizing the resilience of our workforce, civic partners, elected officials and residents in addressing that which makes our Downtown a thriving, diverse and vibrant city core,” added Seiwert. “Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic indicators pointed to a very strong Downtown, which should position us well for recovery.”