Below are the proposed EID services and their associated costs:
IMPROVING STREETSCAPE MAINTENANCE, BEAUTIFICATION AND CLEANLINESS Cost: $1,505,000
In order to remain competitive and continue to attract talent, Downtown Indianapolis must continue to be a vibrant and attractive place. Despite great economic development to the skyline, the infrastructure is showing signs of decay and lack of maintenance. A sustainable plan to finance the attractiveness and maintenance of the Downtown Mile Square has been identified as a critical priority. The EID proposes to hire 12 to 16 uniformed sweepers and mechanical equipment operators that would work seven days-aweek, providing up to 12 hours of service per day. These crews would ensure that the Downtown’s sidewalks are clean and its streetscapes are weed and graffiti-free. They would also be trained in hospitality service to provide wayfinding assistance to those visiting Downtown and provide an additional set of ears and eyes for public safety. Specifically, the crew would address:
Mechanical sweeping: Sidewalks and related public areas would be swept early each morning.
Daily recurring manual sweeping: Daily manual sweeping of all sidewalks and related public areas at least twice throughout the working day by uniformed cleaners would ensure the central business district would remain clean and attractive.
Monthly power washing: The EID would provide high-pressure washing twice/month (except in the winter) to remove accumulated stains and grime from all sidewalks.
Graffiti removal: To improve the appearance of Downtown, the maintenance crew would remove stickers and paint over graffiti on the ground floor of building facades.
Pest bird mitigation: Because Downtown property owners, residents and employers are concerned about health and sanitation issues, the EID would employ methods (with assistance from the USDA) to discourage pest birds from roosting on office roof tops by using pyrotechnics, lasers and recorded bird warning calls.
Enhanced streetscape lighting, landscape and tree canopy: To provide for a uniform landscape design within the Mile-Square footprint, new landscape enhancements along with existing gardens and planters will provide for a seamless beautification brand. In addition, a new tree canopy strategy (endorsed by the Mayor’s Tree Council) will be implemented and will comprise of adding and/or replacing 120 trees annually.
Expanded beautification including the design and maintenance of the Mile-Square gardens: To provide a visible transition into the Mile-Square, EID crews would install and maintain gateway gardens consistent with the overall beautification identity of Downtown Indianapolis. An added element includes the enhancement of surface parking lot screening by utilizing elevated landscaping strategies.
Enhanced Safety and Security
A safe experience is the foundation for a successful Downtown. The more people who perceive that a place is safe, the more likely they are to visit, live and do business. With a growing homeless population, mixed in with an uptick in aggressive panhandling, a multi-tiered approach to address these issues must be implemented.
Coordinated homeless outreach services: The goal of providing outreach services is to reduce the number of those experiencing homelessness and panhandlers by at least 30 percent while increasing the perception of safety within the boundaries of the EID. The creation of a total civic response would include hiring a full-time professional project manager to coordinate street outreach efforts, provide “barrier buster” funding to help pay for immediate-need assistance, treatment and housing and seek additional funds to provide even more support.
Increased bike and foot patrols: Downtown Indy, Inc. has developed a unique collaborative relationship with the Downtown IMPD District. Currently, off-duty police officers hired by DII walk and bike key areas of Downtown by providing 1,000 hours/year of expanded coverage and business interactions and engagements. The EID would allow for 5,000 hours of expanded coverage and patrols to be deployed daily to targeted “hot-spots” and densely-activated areas of the Mile-Square footprint.
Emergency management and disaster response system: There is no communication system in place to notify surrounding Downtown businesses when a safety incident occurs. A response system would allow for two-way communication between building/private security and IMPD to disseminate current and real-time information to surrounding property owners and coordinate responses and immediate action, if necessary.
Additional lighting: Physical characteristics of an environment can influence a person’s sense of security. The Downtown EID will address railroad underpasses and dark alleys by improving visibility with additional lighting contributing to an increased positive perception of safety.
Enriching the Downtown-User Experience
To position Downtown Indianapolis as a competitive business location, the primary regional destination for dining, culture, entertainment and shopping and to enhance Downtown as a premier place to live, the EID would support the following efforts:
Maximize technology for improved wayfinding for parking: The majority of employees and visitors coming into Downtown do so by automobile. The evolution of technology has established an environment where real-time information is essential and expected by the public. The EID would provide funding for a comprehensive parking system that would include dynamic signage and real-time parking information.
Increased bike parking: Bike lanes and bicycle racks are the backbone of the growing bike transit system. Although some interior rack space has been provided, gaps still exist within the Mile Square. The EID would fund an additional 200 rack spaces.
Broadened public Wi-Fi: The benefits of having free and public wireless zones is an expected on-line convenience by many who work and visit our Downtown. The EID would add this benefit to public space areas most often used by pedestrians.
Residential amenities: Downtown amenities can increase desirability and competition for real estate. Spaces such as dog parks and playgrounds create places for people to interact with other residents in a meaningful way. The EID funding would be used to help leverage additional funds to add these much needed amenities.
DrivE Economic Development Through Marketing Private Sector planning
Downtown maintains a “plain-vanilla” kind of brand from outsiders, which does not translate well for potential investment and attractiveness for new residents and a younger, urban workforce. Selling our civic assets needs a refreshed and consistent look and feel as THE place to be/live/work. Additionally, the vitality of Downtown depends on it providing a broad and expanded array of retail goods, services and cultural activities. Property owners within the EID would be driving the priorities for urban growth and amenities and leverage its collective voice in order to:
Coordinate a refreshed brand for Downtown: Video and photo content will be created and culled specifically for EID businesses and residential communities to use for placement on website, print collateral and social media that demonstrate Indy’s vibrant civic scene. A marketing toolbox/platform will give property owners the latest in brand-building assets.
Create a retail strategy: Multi-platform communications will market Downtown as a shopping destination, to include up-to-date market data and leasing information including pedestrian counts and residential income information. The strategy would also benefit commercial nodes such as Mass Ave to lobby for a better business mix (e.g. alcohol license density ordinance).
Gather and analyze important data: To understand how Downtown is performing, baseline information will be evaluated for better decision making and used as a tool to measure against future development. Developers and entrepreneurs demand this data and often overlook Downtown Indianapolis for expansion opportunities due to lack of timely and relevant data. Having reliable and objective data will also help position Indianapolis to remain competitive locally and nationally.
Look beyond the crystal ball: Elected officials and city leaders will seek out a collective voice of current investors and property owners to determine what the “next big thing” is to sustain Indy’s place on the national and global stage. Funding for important planning efforts can be prioritized out of the EID to drive future direction and decisions