The Hoosierist: House of Horrors

Murder scenes, Ann Dancing, and the old airport. Ask the Hoosierist.

Q: Other than asking your real estate agent and hoping for honesty, is there any way to find out if a house you want to buy was the site of a gruesome crime?
A: Actually, grilling the seller’s agent is the best way to go, because if they know about previous criminal hijinks on the property, they’re obliged by law to tell you—but only if you inquire. Indiana code actually lists the stuff agents must brief you about if you ask, including deaths on the property; whether someone with AIDS resided there; and whether your dream cottage once served as a gang hideout or meth lab. A house with this sort of stuff in its background is called a “psychologically affected property,” because unlike a cracked foundation or bad electrical repairs, its impact on a buyer’s decision is purely psychological—unless there’s a big bloodstain on the living room floor that needs to be sanded out.
Q: Ann Dancing is a downtown icon, but I can’t help wondering: how much maintenance does that digital sculpture require?
A: Ann (who is basically four panels of computer-controlled LEDs generating images of a woman swaying to music) has been shaking it at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Vermont Street since 2008. And like most true partiers, she has proved incredibly resilient. “Ann typically is repaired once or twice a year,” says Karen Haley, executive director of the Cultural Trail (of which Ann is part). “She has held up very well for a piece of electronic art that is in the elements.” Ann does receive routine maintenance and weatherproofing, including new caulk. And since she’s still running on the same electronic scheme installed by her creator, Julian Opie, a decade ago, she’ll likely need an upgrade soon. Can you think of another piece of 2008 technology that’s still functioning today?
Q: What’s going on at the old airport? Is anything going to replace the demolished terminal?
A: The Indianapolis Airport Authority has for years worked to redevelop about 3,200 acres of its spare property, but the land where the terminal once stood (and where The Hoosierist consumed many a pre-flight Cinnabon) seems trapped in a holding pattern. The IAA wants to use the terminal’s old footprint for some sort of (as yet to be determined) aviation-related project. As for the structure’s parking lots, a recent $500 million proposal to turn that real estate into a sports-medicine complex never got off the ground, and presently, nothing is waiting to take its place. So if you know of anyone who could use 130 acres right next to the interstate, the IAA would like to hear from you.
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