Monday, August 6, 2012

Welcome to Indianapolis' White Elephant: Georgia Street

About a month ago, Fox 59 did a story on how Georgia Street was being refurbished:
After months of repairs, a renovation of Georgia Street is nearly complete and it will soon host it's [sic] first special events since the Super bowl.
As the site of the Super Bowl Village, Georgia Street, attracted big crowds and lots of wear and tear. Now, damaged pavers and other structural problems are nearly fixed and officials with Indianapolis Downtown Incorporated say the work should be complete by July. 
"Now it's time to really look at how beautiful it is and enjoy it," said Julia Watson with IDI. "It's time to do some simple things, like put seating out here, so people can just sit and enjoy."
On August 2nd, I had the chance to visit a local business establishment located on Georgia Street.  In the process I walked the full length of Georgia Street.  This was after IDI said the improvements should be completed.  The street looked horrible.  The boards on the boardwalk are yellowed and there didn't appear to be much landscaping going.  At one point, on the street tacky-looking fake grass had been installed.  "Tacky" is also a good way to describe the architecture on the street.  It appears to have some sort of confusing mixture of Roman and oriental themes...not sure why.

It was a Thursday evening, just the time when the nearby bars should have been flooded with downtown workers. Instead the street looked abandoned.  There was very little in the way of pedestrian traffic.  You would never believe that this is supposed to be an Indianapolis hot spot.

It appears that Georgia Street is well on its way to being a white elephant.  If we are paying IDI anything to maintain and promote this property, we need to ask for our money back.  I cannot believe the millions of taxpayer dollars that was sunk into this fiasco.

NOTE:  I would have liked to post pictures on here but due to issues with my phone I was not able to.  The link to the Fox 59 story though will take you to a video that's worth watching.  I particularly enjoy the IDI officials try to spin Georgia Street as a great tourist destination.


Had Enough Indy? said...

Well, I guess $12 million doesn't buy you much any more.

Any word on who is footing this new bill? IDI or us?

marksmall2001 said...

What about the other "white elephant" downtown---Union Station. The planners had that concept wrong. At the time it was extremely out of the way of most people's paths who went downtown for an evening. Then the emphasis was entirely on bars---a type of business I enjoy, but all in one place? Then there's the cush position for the parking garage owners, who make more money from special events---football and baskeball games---than everyday parking. The owner of the former Hollywood Bar & Filmworks wrote about that at the time.

Downtown Indy said...

Union Station was pretty successful until Circle Centre came along -- mind you, with an intentional exclusion of it from any mall connectivity.

But on to Georgia Street...

I find it an uncomfortable, almost claustrophobic area. It only seems more so now that the ground-level space is filled with clutter. It is a narrow street with high buildings lining it.

And make no mistake, it IS clutter: A series of obstacles blocking both the view AND pedestrian mobility.

Case in point is how they positioned a roughly 2-ft cube of stainless steel (apparently some sort of electrical control box I would guess) RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE of the route pedestrians are supposed to take.

No, not someplace out of the way, right there where people walk. And it's low enough it would be easy to trip over if you were in a group and didn't see it.

guy77money said...

Destination areas are not created they are brought into being by intelligent entrepreneurs who have a vision and want to make money! Georgia street is a government vision that will require large amounts of government (our taxes) subsidies to remain solvent. The money would have been better spent to upgrade destination (Mass St and Fountain Square) spots that have thriving businesses.