Friday, June 17, 2011

Explain to Me: What's Wrong with Monument Circle?

A big story in the local media over the past few days is a movement to repurpose the area around Monument Circle. That brings up a few questions:

Who wants it repurposed?

Why do we want to repurpose it?

Who is paying for the changes?

Why weren't we really notified about the whole process?

I guess I can take the fourth question first. If I missed a press release or two, I apologize, but the City of Indianapolis seems to me to really have dropped the ball on communicating this to the citizens of the city. I'm heavily involved in a major neighborhood group as well as one of the larger Democratic clubs in the county, and I knew nothing about this movement or that it was even in the works until I saw it on the news.

I found this WTHR story from March 9 about it. It does appear that some effort was made in March to let people know about this, but I guess it never funneled to me. That's my fault.

The Soliders and Sailors Monument needed some attention, and I applaud the city and Indy Downtown for the restoration work on the Victory statue atop the Monument. Sounds like it was long overdue, and it will assure generations to come get to look up at the Monument in wonder...just as I did when I was a child.

I just don't get where this push came from for wholesale changes. If it's been good enough for 110 years, then why isn't it still good now?

Sure, I think there could be some changes. But some of the ones proposed on the Monument Circle Idea website are just too much. I also can't seem to find who's going to be paying for the changes. I'd like that answer, too.

Now that I know, I'm going to try to stay involved in this process. I think that Monument Circle is a beautiful space in the city. For generations, it's been a meeting point for residents of this city in times of celebration and even times of tragedy. Hoosiers have spent time at Monument Circle lighting the "World's Largest Christmas Tree" and protesting military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. Whatever is decided, let's not change things too much. I love sitting on the Circle and watching life go by. We don't have many places in town like it. Let's not change it too much.

Instead, let's work on redeveloping and repurposing the old Market Square Arena site. Can we have a competition on that instead? That area is tied more closely to revitalizing that area of the city.


Cato said...

Nothing is "wrong" with Monument Circle. The problem is that it's already built. If it can be changed, that activity will let the City be able to open a spigot of millions of taxpayer dollars into the pockets of the Administration's friends.

Had Enough Indy? said...

Cato has a valid point. In addition, I think they are looking to spend money to make Indy more 'exciting' for the superbowl crowd. Plus, this keeps IDI occupied with something as they pretend to earn all the tax dollars that flow their way.

Anonymous said...

The city wanted to turn the circle into a pedestrian only space awhile back but received push back from Columbia Club, Hilbert Theatre, and other merchants.

Think the idea came from Indianapolis Downtown and Superbowl Committee.

Appears this "contest" is a continuation of that effort and a money making effort for some architects.

Most people seem to agree that shutting down the circle to cars temporarily for events makes more sense than a permanent ban.

Anonymous said...

I heard that Gov. Daniels sold the Victory statue in order to finance repair of the monument. It will be replaced with a fiberglass replica. Mitch apparently said, "Have you seen what scrap yards are paying for bronze these days? This is the sort of fiscal prudence Hoosiers demand and deserve. Besides, no one ever gets close enough to the statue to notice the difference anyway."