Mayor Hogsett, officials premiere new State of Downtown plans

CBS4 This Morning

INDIANAPOLIS — Mayor Hogsett and Downtown Indy, Inc. officials including the Downtown Recovery Committee co-chairs presented State of Downtown Part 2. 

Officials said downtown’s recovery has measurable objectives and tactics to re-open for the benefit of the entire city.

State of Downtown Part 2 outlined plans to provide diversity and inclusion, and to  encourage residents to patronize downtown businesses. 

“Over the past months, Indianapolis has risen to the challenge of a global pandemic and public health crisis, coupled with a long-overdue national reckoning with racial injustice. Together, we have engaged in difficult conversations, re-examined insufficient policies, and invested substantial resources into the maintenance and repair of our city’s economic engine,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett.

The Downtown Recovery Committee announced last week that the City of Indianapolis is providing $750,000 to Downtown Indy, Inc, (DII) for safety and security enhancements to the Mile Square area of Downtown.

“I am confident that the collaboration and bold spirit that built our Downtown will now help us preserve and strengthen the Mile Square, as we continue to grapple with some of the greatest challenges our city has faced in its 200-year history,” said Hogsett.

Funding will be allocated for the following to enhance safety and security:

1. Increase Downtown Indy, Inc. foot/bike patrols of off-duty IMPD officers in the Downtown area, quadrupling the coverage already provided by DII. PROGRESS: As of today, 35 officers are on staff. The new schedule of eight officers each day Monday – Friday between 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. begins Sept. 1. Foot/bike patrol hours will increase from about 20 hours per week to 80 hours minimum each week.

2. Launch Downtown Indy, Inc.’s Safety Ambassador program employing civilians and IMPD cadets to assist Downtown patrons and business owners while serving as extra eyes and ears throughout the Mile Square. PROGRESS: Four new Safety Ambassadors have been hired, who will work in partnership with the IMPD Cadets. The Ambassadors are in the process of being trained and will be visible on the streets with Cadets seven-days a week in mid-September. 

3. Create a network of 150+ street-level cameras, in partnership with Mile Square businesses, which will be part of IMPD’s existing B.Link program. PROGRESS: More than 25 properties have inquired about partnering in just a week. We anticipate at least 100 properties connected to the B.Link program

4. Add mobile camera trailers positioned in crime hot spots that will be monitored by IMPD. PROGRESS:  There is currently a mobile camera deployed on the Canal which has proven effective for deterring crime. The purchase of additional cameras is being pursued. 

5. Increase partnership between IMPD’s Downtown District, IMPD’s Narcotics Unit and IMPD’s Homeless Unit to identify areas with increased activity and deploy resources more strategically. PROGRESS: Under the Public Health & Safety Recovery Committee, the group has been meeting weekly to collaboratively work on advocacy, employment and outreach.

President and CEO of Downtown Indy, Inc. Sherry Seiwert said, “These new safety tactics, combined with our partner efforts to support and expand homeless outreach efforts and housing, extend our beautification efforts, as well as market and activate Downtown – will have a measurable impact on our Downtown with visible results.”

For recovery updates, click here.

To see the Back Downtown video, click here.

More from Downtown Indy Inc.:

BACK DOWNTOWN

A vital aspect in the recovery process is Downtown’s messaging. Business owners, managers, residents and the general public want to support Downtown, so a literal and figurative banner under which all could march was needed. DII’s committee made it clear that we needed to revive the image of Downtown; gain the confidence of Downtown residents and workers that it is safe and ready to be thriving again, even amidst COVID; remind everyone that there is much to love about Downtown; and to encourage residents beyond Downtown to try it again.

Downtown Indy, Inc., in partnership with Section 127, unveiled a new city-wide initiative to encourage residents to patronize Downtown businesses and reinvigorate Downtown pride: Back Downtown.

This concept serves as a rallying cry and inspires residents to discover Downtown again. It promotes the interconnection of all Downtown residents/attractions and the power of a united front. Downtown IS a thriving place. Play, eat, shop Back Downtown. Additionally, the double entendre is the notion that residents and businesses support or Back Downtown. 

A marketing and social media campaign is underway. Tomorrow, Aug. 28, Back Downtown banners will start to be placed Downtown, starting on Monument Circle. Additionally, civic and board leaders will unite under a spirit of collaboration to spruce-up Downtown on two Fridays: Aug. 28 & Sept. 11.

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