Northeast Corridor connects to Monon Trail, adds three public art installations
Nov. 5, 2010 -- If the journey is as important as the destination, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail: A Legacy of Gene & Marilyn Glick is paving the way for an unforgettable experience. In a ribbon-cutting ceremony this afternoon, Mayor Greg Ballard and others connected one of the most important dots, linking the 15 mile Monon Trail and its one million annual users via an uninterrupted beautifully designed, lit, and landscaped trail to the Canal and the heart of downtown Indianapolis.
The Northeast Corridor, a 1.2-mile section of the Cultural Trail, was officially opened today, connecting completed portions of the trail from North and Alabama streets through the heart of the Mass Ave Cultural District to the Monon Trail at 10th Street. The event celebrated the opening of the Efroymson Family Corridor, a six-block section of trail from North and Alabama streets to College and Massachusetts avenues, which recognizes the family’s $2 million gift to the project, and officially welcomed three new public art installations into the downtown collection.
“The City of Indianapolis is well on its way to meeting the recent Livability Challenge to provide residents access to beauty through art, nature and good design every day,” said Mayor Greg Ballard. “Creating opportunities for our residents to bike and walk around our City helps to increase the connectivity between our neighborhoods, while this growing network of pedestrian and bicycle paths is a catalyst for economic growth.”
PRIVATE PHILANTHROPIC PARTNERS
Lori Efroymson-Aguilera explained why the Efroymsons were one of the first donors to the project, initially with $1 million and later with another $1 million gift.
“We are proud to play a role in helping the Indianapolis Cultural Trail become a valued and unique community amenity that serves everyone,” said Efroymson-Aguilera. “Family philanthropy has helped build a better Indianapolis for generations. It is our honor to once again work in partnership with other families including members of the Lacy and Eccles family, the Pulliam family, and of course, the Glick family to make this bold dream a reality.”
NEW PUBLIC ART
Three new public art installations along this section of completed Cultural Trail were another reason to celebrate. All three artists have ties to Indianapolis or Indiana and one, Stuart Hyatt, from Indianapolis and a member of the artist collaborative M12, spoke about what an honor it is to have “Prairie Modules 1 & 2” included in the Cultural Trail.
“M12 has ongoing projects throughout the country, but Indianapolis has given us our largest commission yet,” said Hyatt. “The Cultural Trail is the type of experiment that could pay huge dividends for this city and we are excited to add our aesthetic to this visionary project.”
The other public art installations are “Care, Don’t Care” by Jamie Pawlus from Indianapolis that takes a twist on a typical “walk, don’t walk” sign and invites trail users on Massachusetts Avenue to share their cares. “Chatham Passage,” by Sean Derry, formerly of Bloomington, Indiana, is a multi-sensory experience found in the alley off Massachusetts Avenue that includes a lit and rose-scented vault with a hand-made lattice metal grate.
The three art installations make a total of four permanent pieces completed on the trail to date. The first artwork, a four-sided display featuring a woman perpetually dancing in orange LED lights entitled “Ann Dancing” by Julian Opie, was installed at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue, Vermont Street and Alabama Street in 2008. Three additional projects have been commissioned for the remaining portions of the trail.
SPURRING ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
According to a recent economic development study, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail will create more than 11,000 jobs and the economic benefits attributable to the Cultural Trail will exceed $863 million. This is based on a study conducted by the Indiana University Center for Urban Policy and the Environment and calculates investments from expected increase in downtown residential and commercial ownership, attraction of creative-class talent, and increases in tourism and convention stays.
This study was used in the successful grant proposal that awarded $20.5 million to the Cultural Trail from the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Nearly 1,400 other proposals totaling over $57 billion in requests from around the U.S. were submitted for $1.5 billion in available transportation funding. The Cultural Trail was one of 51 proposals awarded and one of only two trail projects in the country to receive funding.
Even though he was not able to attend today’s event, Congressman André Carson has been a strong advocate for the Cultural Trail and helped secure the TIGER grant.
“The jobs created through its construction and the businesses that that will benefit along its path will ensure that the Cultural Trail will be an economic driver for Indianapolis for decades to come,” said Congressman André Carson.
CICF President Brian Payne originated the idea of the Cultural Trail and has championed this project since 2001. He reiterated the importance and power of connecting people to the front door or within a block of the best of downtown Indianapolis.
“There is no other trail project in the world that both connects you directly to a city’s most desirable destinations while also making the journey a beautiful, inspiring experience,” said Payne. “The Indianapolis Cultural Trail has catapulted Indianapolis into the global consciousness as a leader in urban trail design, transportation infrastructure and as one of the most livable communities in the country."
This is the third of seven construction phases, or corridors, to be completed. The half-mile East Corridor, on Alabama Street from North Street to Market Street, was completed in June 2008, and the one mile North Corridor, from North and Alabama streets to Indiana Avenue, was completed earlier this year. The contract to construct the Northeast Corridor was awarded to Sunesis Construction Company in 2009 for $6.1 million and paid for by federal transportation grants.
Construction is underway on Capitol Avenue from Washington Street to South Street and on Alabama Street from Market Street to Washington Street. The hardscape features will be completed in boths areas by the end of the year with landscaping installed in spring of 2011. The remaining construction on Virginia Avenue, Washington Street and Blackford Avenue will begin in early 2011. The entire eight-mile Cultural Trail is expected to be completed by the end of 2012.
To date, $63 million has been raised to complete the eight-mile bicycle and pedestrian project that connects the five downtown cultural districts and greenway trails. Nearly $21 million of this total has been used to replace old city infrastructure that otherwise would not have been improved. The $63 million total also includes a $6 million maintenance endowment held at CICF to be used for ongoing maintenance needs.
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