When they first started building the cultural trail back in 2007 I have to admit that I hated it. I hated the idea. Spending $63 million on a glorified freaking sidewalk? Is that really an efficient way to spend that much money?
Back then the business district in Fountain Square wasn’t exactly booming like it is now. Then the city comes in and rips apart the sidewalk, puts orange cones and barricades everywhere and makes parking and patronizing the local business practically impossible. It took nearly 3 years to complete the trail through Fountain Square. Quite a few small businesses didn’t make it 🙁
Fast forward to today: The Cultural Trail brings in hundreds and hundreds of downtowners, north siders, greenwood residents, Broad Ripple Monon Trail users, and every one in between. It literally connects Fountain Square and its much more mature sister Fletcher Place. People that live and work in Fletcher place walk to Fountain Square to eat and drink and vice versa. That didn’t really happen before the trail was built. Not to mention the other 5 Cultural districts.
In this Indy Star article they say that values have gone up by $1 Billion! Insane! They make note of the biggest increase coming from the new Condo builds on Virginia Ave, in Fletcher Place just down the street from our office. According to the Cultural Trail property values are up by 148%.
Today I’m walking to my favorite coffee shop and run into some kind of ribbon cutting ceremony. I quickly learn that its an event celebrating the success of the trail. Cool! They deserve it. Smart move by Indy.
The success has been noted by other city planners and developers. Check out the article from March 2014 in the NY Times.