Mayor has big plans for downtown development

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard has big plans for downtown development.

For some, the wait has been long. Others are still in the design phase. On Tuesday, 24-Hour News 8 had a chance to get caught up on several projects.

In October, for example, we should see work begin on part of the replacement for what used to be Market Square Arena, the north half of the property. Ballard said he also recently had a meeting with Cummins to discuss what could rise on the rest of the property next door.

By the end of the year, he expects to see designs for a project on the old GM Stamping Plant site along White River, west of downtown.

The county’s consolidated court and jail, and the new justice center, will be on about 40 acres there. Ballard says it will be “interesting” to see what follows.

“What tends to happen is that there’s a bridge of economic development that goes from the core out there. I think that’s what you’ll see, initially.” What will replace the current jail downtown? “Well, something that pays property taxes,” said Ballard.

From his window on the 25th floor, he expects to monitor other projects under development.

This fall, work begins on a new transit center for IndyGo. The $20 million project, on East Washington, will be a hub for the city’s bus system.

There’s even some work anticipated at the City-County Building itself. He said he wants to make it more inviting than the current design allows.

“It’s kinda like 1950s, 1960s design. It’s kinda like stay away,” Ballard said.

So, he says the idea is to update this area, the south side of the building.

“I want it to be a gathering point for people to come in. But I also want an outdoor ice skating rink in the winter,” said Ballard. “In three years, this whole place will look completely different.”

The Mayor will also be watching the various council committees as they review budget proposals.

One big one is the tax to pay for new police officers. He’s not happy with what council democrats have done to divide his plan.

But he says there’s still time to get a deal done before the budget is due this fall.

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