Editor’s Note, March 2016: The Effect of the Cultural Trail

There are more reasons than ever to linger downtown—primarily thanks to the trailblazing path.

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.

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A native of Inman, South Carolina, Amanda Heckert graduated from the Honors College at the University of South Carolina and began her career in journalism as an intern at Atlanta magazine. She then edited Newcomer magazine, a monthly covering Atlanta real estate, entertainment, arts, dining, and education, and helped launch a sister publication, Atlanta School Guide.In 2006, Heckert returned to Atlanta magazine and worked her way up from associate editor covering fashion and lifestyle to senior editor. In that position, she edited and wrote features on topics such as Dasani bottled water and The Real Housewives of Atlanta; contributed to and edited the front-of-book; and edited service and non-service packages, including the September 2011 Hollywood Issue, nominated for a City and Regional Magazine Association Award.Heckert joined Indianapolis Monthly in February 2012 and enjoys getting to know the Circle City with her husband, writer Justin Heckert, and their dog, Cooper.