Democrats reveal plan to rebuild Indy streets

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Democrats on the City County County produced a $340 million plan Wednesday to rebuild streets, sidewalks, and bridges.

It’s in competition with the Mayor’s plan, but it doesn’t have to be. Greg Ballard’s $300 million plan is called Rebuild Indy 2. The Democrats call their plan Fix Our Neighborhoods Now.

Somewhere in the middle is the opportunity to get a lot done to improve the way people get around Indianapolis.

It’s about improvements like the ones being completed on Southeastern Avenue in Wanamaker where, until now, there were no sidewalks.

Outside Mac’s Barber shop Tracy Stauffer and Sheila Howard marvel at the change.

“It used to flood and now they’ve put the drainage system in,” said Stauffer. “We don’t have any problems with flooding anymore.”

“I think putting the sidewalks in,” said Howard, “we’ll have a lot of foot traffic through here.”

Democrats want that to happen in every council district over each of the next three years.

“At the end of the day I believe it’s important that we have a plan that’s fair,” said Council President Maggie Lewis, “that we have some transparency there and that all the councilors, Democrats and Republicans have some input in that plan.”

It’s a more expensive plan than the one currently supported by the mayor and some of the funding sources are being questioned by Republicans, but there may be room for compromise.

“It’s too early to say right now,” said Ballard spokesman Marc Lotter. “We’re just hearing about this plan and seeing the details for the first time even though Mayor Ballard’s been talking about investing in our neighborhoods and streets and sidewalks for nearly a year.”

Let the negotiations begin.

“In my mind the projects need to be starting now” said Lewis. “The mayor and administration can get busy today.”

It’s the sort of thing that voters like Sheila Howard understand. “It just beautifies our area,” she said looking out on Southeastern Avenue.

And the politics of all this will still be difficult. For example, Democrats made their announcement in front of the Cricket Fields at the World Sports Park, something they consider a waste of time and money by the Mayor.

They called it “cricketproof.”

It’s likely the Mayor will attempt to label any compromise Rebuild Indy. Nevertheless, this is a place to start.

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