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How It Works: The Cultural Trail

11.25 Acres of Trail Pavers

Newly completed, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail stands out from similar projects around the world on a few key aspects. One is appearance. Tinted pavers provide more identity than plain concrete.

 

1 Giant Glade Plug-In

That’s how trail organizers describe the “fragrance vault” installed under the path on Mass Ave. One of the 27 commissioned pieces of public artwork on the trail, the vault holds jugs of scented concentrated oil, which is heated and blown into the air.

 

8 Miles of Sidewalks

The trail replaced underused sidewalks—and miles of traffic lanes, which makes the design hard to replicate in other cities. Reps from Calgary and Cologne, Germany, have studied our approach.

 
 

Dozens of Destinations

Usually, urban recreation paths take traffic away from the action. But the Cultural Trail leads into and through downtown, passing within a block of every major cultural, arts, and sports facility, plus each surrounding neighborhood.

 
 

Lots of Help

Building the trail required something we might take for granted in Indy—a high level of cooperation. For instance, the utility companies spent millions of their own dollars relocating telephone poles and other infrastructure.

 
 
Indianapolis Cultural Trail, where fire-jugglers and marching bands performed during a grand-opening party on May 11.
 

Photo by Tony Valainis 

This article appeared in the May 2013 issue

Fernandez began writing for Indianapolis Monthly in 1995 while studying journalism at Indiana University. One of her freelance assignments required her to join a women's full-tackle football team for a season. She joined the staff in 2005 to edit IM's ancillary publications, including Indianapolis Monthly Home. In 2011, she became a senior editor responsible for the Circle City section as well as coverage of shopping, homes, and design-related topics. Now an executive editor, she lives downtown.
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