Cultural Trail Continues to Grow with Unveiling of North Corridor
June 18, 2010 - INDIANAPOLIS -- The City of Indianapolis’s path to becoming one of America’s most livable and sustainable big cities got shorter this morning as the Indianapolis Cultural Trail just got longer.
The Indianapolis Cultural Trail: A Legacy of Gene & Marilyn Glick hosted a ribbon-cutting event to celebrate the opening of the North Corridor of the trail, a one-mile stretch including portions of Indiana Avenue, St. Clair Street, Walnut Street, the Canal, Meridian Street, the American Legion Mall and North Street. The event also celebrated the opening of the Frank and Katrina Basile Corridor, from Capitol Ave. to the Canal on Walnut Street, which recognizes their $500,000 gift to the project.
Speakers at the event included Mayor Greg Ballard, City of Indianapolis, Brian Payne, President, Central Indiana Community Foundation and founder of the Cultural Trail, philanthropist Frank Basile, Matt Gutwein, President and CEO, Health and Hospital Corporation, Dr. Lisa Harris, CEO and Medical Director, Wishard Health Services, and Christopher Barney, Chairman of the Madame Walker Theatre Board of Directors.
“This opening of the next corridor of the Cultural Trail is another great step toward making Indianapolis one of the most sustainable cities in the Midwest,” 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 resource that helps our continued economic growth – attracting young professionals and new businesses while creating jobs in the building trades industry here in Indianapolis.”
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.
CICF President Brian Payne originated the idea of the Cultural Trail and has led 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.”
Well-known throughout the community for their philanthropy, Frank Basile explained why he and Katrina gave $500,000 to the project.
“Katrina and I appreciate being given the opportunity to participate in something as meaningful to our community as the Cultural Trail,” said Basile. “We love to travel and discover new places and have found that the best way to do that is to walk the downtown or other important or historic area of towns we visit. This trail will enable both locals and visitors to walk or bike our entire downtown area while seeing most of the major museums and other icons along the way.”
Health and Hospital Corporation President and CEO Matt Gutwein and Wishard Health Services CEO Dr. Lisa Harris handed out free pedometers to encourage people to walk or bike instead of drive short distances to increase physical fitness and reduce obesity.
“Indiana shines in so many ways, but unfortunately, so far, fitness is not one of them,” said Dr. Harris. “Increasing physical activity is central to addressing this problem, and one of the easiest ways to increase fitness is to incorporate exercise into daily activities -- walking or biking to work, walking to lunch and taking short walks during the work day -- getting there under your own power. Resources like the Indianapolis Cultural Trail encourage these kinds of activities and have enormous potential for a positive impact on Indianapolis residents.”
Earlier this year, the Cultural Trail received $20.5 million 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 due to votes in Washington, Congressman André Carson has been a strong advocate for the Cultural Trail and helped secure the TIGER grant.
“This newest mile of the trail represents another yet milestone our city,” said Congressman Carson. “After years of planning and effort to build community support, the Cultural Trail is on track to be completed before our community hosts the Super Bowl in 2012 thanks to broad partnerships, which span from federal government to our private sector leaders to city officials. This strong support comes down to the fact the Cultural Trail will be an economic driver for Indianapolis--not just in the short-term, but for decades to come.”
The North Corridor also includes the Glick Peace Walk, a two-block corridor honoring 12 great Americans selected by the Glick family to honor people of peace whose creativity, perseverance and concern for others improved life for everyone who came after them. The Glick Peace Walk is made possible through a gift of more than $2 million from Gene and Marilyn Glick that is in addition to their $15 million contribution to the trail. The Glick Peace Walk will be officially dedicated and illuminated on Wednesday, June 30 at 8:45 p.m.
This is the third of seven construction phases, or corridors, of the Cultural Trail. The half-mile East Corridor, on Alabama Street from North Street to Market Street, was completed in June 2008, and construction of the one-mile Northeast Corridor will be complete this fall. The contract to construct the one-mile North Corridor was awarded to Schutt-Lookabill Co. in April 2009 for $7.3 million.
Construction will begin soon on two blocks: Alabama Street from Market Street to Washington Street and Capitol Avenue from Washington Street to Maryland Street. 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 2011.
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.
More information about the Indianapolis Cultural Trail and its construction schedule is available on its Web site www.IndyCulturalTrail.org.
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