For the first time in its nearly 10-year history, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail will undergo its first major expansion. Indianapolis Cultural Trail Inc. says the effort is being led by a $20 million grant from Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc.
The project will add new stretches to the trail along South Street and Indiana Avenue in downtown Indianapolis. The gift from Lilly Endowment will be combined with a previously-announced $5 million commitment from the city of Indianapolis.
“From its inception, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail: A Legacy of Gene and Marilyn Glick has been a shining example of how public-private partnerships enhance quality of life for our residents. The Cultural Trail has moved our city forward by integrating cultural and economic development with opportunities to improve community health and vitality,” Kären Haley executive director of Indianapolis Cultural Trail Inc., said in a news release. “We are grateful to Lilly Endowment, along with other generous supporters, for helping us realize our vision to expand the Trail to better connect our city’s unique cultural destinations and neighborhoods.”
The South Street expansion will extend the trail from New Jersey Street to Capitol Avenue. The organization says the new section will create a connection between downtown Indy and the near south side neighborhoods and Stadium Village area.
The Indiana Avenue expansion will begin at the Madam Walker Legacy Center heading north to 10th Street, then turning west to the planned bridge that will lead to the 16 Tech Innovation District. The organization says the new segment will tie in historically and culturally-significant neighborhoods and cultural destinations.
“We are impressed with the ways that the Cultural Trail has helped connect people and neighborhoods to each other and to downtown Indianapolis,” said Ronni Kloth, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for community development. “With these new strategic expansions, significant assets in our city – including Indiana Avenue, Madam Walker Legacy Center and 16 Tech and Lucas Oil Stadium and Eli Lilly and Co. – will now be beautifully linked to the Trail.”
The entire project is expected to cost a total of $30 million, which includes funding for Indianapolis Cultural Trail Inc.’s endowment to maintain the trail, as well as funding to enhance the trial’s art collection and public art program. To date, more than $26 million in gifts and commitments have been given, which also includes a $1 million grant from the Anthem Foundation earmarked for the maintenance fund.
The organization says it will launch a fundraising campaign to secure the remaining funding needed for the project. Design work for the expansion will take place this year and officials expect construction to begin in 2021.