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The historic Indiana Avenue reimagined in Indianapolis



Indianapolis, Indiana – The city of Indianapolis is striving to revitalize the commercial and cultural center of the African American community.

Indiana Avenue was that heart in the middle of the 20th century. Several of the finest musicians of their time frequented bars and clubs.

The Midwest music circuit, which included St. Louis, Memphis, Chicago, and other cities, introduced the city to blues, jazz, and big band performers.

I-65’s eventual development bisected the neighborhood’s northern portions. The arrival of the IUPUI campus altered the character and atmosphere of the neighborhood. Businesses and longtime neighbors drifted away.

The City is now poised to undertake an initiative to persuade developers and neighborhood residents to rethink the Avenue and bring back some of its previous sparkles.

Developers are being asked for advice by the Department of Metropolitan Development (DMD) on how to revitalize the neighborhood. The new building will honor the region’s past while blending in with the community.

The Kurt Vonnegut Museum & Library and the Madama C.J. Walker Center currently serve as the community’s pillars of culture.

In the summer of 2020, Indiana Avenue’s pavement became the canvas for street artists’ creations. They created ground murals and relevant statements that reflected the city’s socioeconomic unrest.

In that year, local residents successfully blocked a developer’s proposal to construct student apartments near IUPUI. They felt that it didn’t represent the neighborhood’s personality.

The administration of Mayor Joe Hogsett consistently looked for development strategies and plans for the somewhat lifeless areas and neighborhoods surrounding the downtown area. South Meridian Street, the close east side, and the west bank of the White River are all included in this.

Such planning typically occurs before the City invests in infrastructure and offers incentives to private developers to construct office, commercial, and residential sites that are eligible for tax increment financing.

By April 27, 2023, DMD must receive responses for the Indiana Avenue Certified Strategic Plan.

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