Congressman, Mayor Announce $20.5 Million in Federal Funding for Indianapolis Cultural Trail
INDIANAPOLIS - Congressman André Carson, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and Central Indiana Community Foundation President Brian Payne today announced The Indianapolis Cultural Trail: A Legacy of Gene & Marilyn Glick has been awarded $20.5 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The federal grant is part of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
This federal infusion will be used to build the remaining 4.5 miles of the trail connecting Fountain Square (Southeast Corridor), Washington St. (Central Corridor) and Blackford St. (West Corridor). Once completed, the Cultural Trail is expected to have a total economic benefit of more than $800 million and create more than ten thousand jobs-all through direct construction, private sector investment along the trail and an expansion of tourism.
"Today's announcement is a serious jolt to our local economy and the future of tourism in Indianapolis," said Congressman Carson. "The Cultural Trail is a prime example of how the Recovery Act is both working to create jobs immediately and lay the groundwork for future economic growth. This $20 million will leverage hundreds of millions in private sector dollars and spur job creation for generations to come."
The grant exceeds the $55 million fundraising goal, bringing the total funds raised to $62.5 million. The additional $8.5 million will enable the City of Indianapolis to upgrade its infrastructure during Cultural Trail construction, which is significantly less expensive than if the city were to make the same repairs on its own.
"This is a tremendous investment in Indianapolis," said Mayor Greg Ballard. "The Cultural Trail is an undeniable asset to our community, and this funding will assist by providing $20 million in new city infrastructure that will help increase the quality of life for our citizens and boost our efforts to make Indianapolis a more sustainable city."
"The fact that the Cultural Trail successfully competed against almost 1,400 other proposals totaling over $57 billion in requests from around the U.S. shows how significant and innovative it is," said Brian Payne, president of the Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF) and Cultural Trail founder. "It's truly making a national and international impact."
In its application submitted through the City of Indianapolis, the Cultural Trail reported that the economic benefits attributable to the Cultural Trail will exceed $863 million and more than 11,000 jobs will be created. This is based on a study conducted by the Indiana University Center for Urban Policy and the Environment and calculates investments from expected increase in downtown residential and commercial ownership, attraction of creative-class talent, and increases in tourism and convention stays.
Many city leaders lent their voice for the Cultural Trail application, including Eli Lilly and Company CEO John Lechleiter:
"The perception of Indianapolis and its quality of life is vital to Lilly's efforts to recruit and retain world-class research talent. While Indianapolis already has many amenities to attract talent, I believe we must continue to strive for a dynamic national reputation if our city is going to successfully compete among other life-science hubs throughout the world including Shanghai, Copenhagen, and Delhi. It has been my experience that those cities are constantly raising the bar to attract global talent. We in Indianapolis must do the same....Today's knowledge worker demands distinctive natural, recreational, cultural and lifestyle amenities when selecting a place to live, work, and play. The Cultural Trail connects all of these demands in a way that no other city has done - which will allow Indianapolis to stand apart from the other cities. We at Lilly believe the Cultural Trail creates a unique 21st Century quality of life experience that will attract international attention."
As a prime example of a "shovel-ready project," the grant requires the funding to be spent by the end 2011, allowing the Cultural Trail to be substantially completed in time for welcoming Super Bowl XLVI fans from around the world in February 2012.
"Millions of people will basically see that we've married art and culture on our streets and on our sidewalks and incorporated fitness and health and art at the same," said Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association President Don Welsh. "It will be something that we sell when we are selling major groups and leisure tourists to come to the city."
Payne added that the Cultural Trail has formed a new not-for-profit, Indianapolis Cultural Trail, Inc., to manage, market and maintain the trail once construction is completed. "The Cultural Trail will continue to raise funding for its ongoing maintenance," said Payne. "Indianapolis Cultural Trail Inc. will ensure that it is maintained at a high level for visitors and residents to enjoy for decades to come."
To view the video submitted with the TIGER grant application or for more information visit www.IndyCulturalTrail.org.
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