Six-and-a-half years have passed since we last dedicated a cover story to downtown. That’s a relatively short time for any one thing to go through monumental change, and yet that’s just what happened to the area in and around the Mile Square. In that bygone issue, we assessed the potential of some big projects—then, nothing more than renderings—coming down the pike: the JW Marriott, the Indiana Convention Center expansion, the Georgia Street “Super Bowl Village,” and the Cultural Trail.
These days, I can barely imagine the landscape without those four additions, but you could argue, quite rightly, that without the Cultural Trail, the downtown of August 2009 would not be so different than that of March 2016. And yet here we are, with neighborhoods linked and revitalized because of that groundbreaking network of paved paths. Back then, Urbanophile blogger Aaron M. Renn predicted, “You can count on this being beachfront property—it’s going to spur development all along it.”
And how. In “Navigating the New Downtown,” editor Megan Fernandez takes you on a tour of the spots that have especially benefited from this alchemy of innovation and urban planning, from the Canal Walk to Fletcher Place. The work is not done, of course—as you’ll read in the story, there are still plenty of dreamers tinkering with making downtown even more livable, walkable, bikeable, and enjoyable.
We know from subscription ZIP codes and newsstand sales that most of our readers don’t live downtown (thank you, Zionsville Marsh shoppers!). But I bet many from Fishers to Greenwood still come here regularly—for dinner, for Pacers games, for ISO performances. I believe you’ll find in our cover story more reasons than ever to drive in and linger. Just watch out; you might fall in love and decide to stay. Planners aren’t calling Market East “the Carmel relocation plan” for nothing.
Amanda Heckert is the editor-in-chief of Indianapolis Monthly.
This article appeared in the March 2016 issue.