Monday, October 04, 2010

It's All About One Super Bowl Game

Once again, our city leaders are demonstrating that they will make us pay any price, bear any burden and meet any hardship when it comes to hosting one f____ing football game at Lucas Oil Stadium in February, 2012. "Indy shifting police operations to prepare for '12 Super Bowl" reads the headline of a story by John Touhy in today's Star.

A new fire headquarters and a training academy for inner-city teenagers are among a flurry of changes planned by the Indianapolis Department of Public Safety next year.

The department also will move its Emergency Operations Center to an abandoned mall at Shadeland Avenue and East Washington Street and relocate two hard-to-find police stations -- the East and Downtown district offices.

Public Safety Director Frank Straub said the moves are designed to bring city services closer to residents, prepare for the Super Bowl in 2012 and harness economic development . . .

The city also plans to move its fire headquarters from 555 N. New Jersey St., abutting the popular Mass Ave. cultural district, to the shuttered IPS School 97 at 1401 E. 10th. The old building will be rented or sold for commercial development.

Fire Station 7, which is on Massachusetts Avenue next to the headquarters, also will move to an undetermined site in the neighborhood.

The John H. Boner Community Center plans to form a company to buy School 97 from IPS and then rehab it for the fire headquarters, Straub said.

Attached to the headquarters will be a new public safety academy for teens. Straub said the academy will give youths an early start at training for a career in police, fire or ambulance work.

"It would be considered cadet training for younger kids and would expose them to these professions," Straub said.

Also next year, the Department of Public Safety plans to move the East District from the 2400 block of North Shadeland Avenue to the former IPS School 78 at 3734 E. Vermont St. The current site is in an industrial mall near a busy street.

The new building will be in a more populated area and could stimulate commercial development.

Finally, the city plans to move the Downtown District to Union Station from 25 W. Ninth St . . .

"That puts it in the heart of Downtown, which is preferable anytime but especially for a big event like the Super Bowl," Straub said.

I hope someone keeps the full running tab for what hosting this Super Bowl in 2012 is going to wind up costing Indianapolis taxpayers. It looks to me like we're easily going to surpass the $100 million figure. Absolutely none of these changes will reduce crime, improve economic development or enhance cultural life in this city. It's all about putting on our best face for a group of elitists outsiders who could care less about this city. They'll fly into the city on their private jets--many of them not even bothering to stay overnight--before leaving and urging the NFL owners never to schedule another Super Bowl game in Naptown again. Look how well Detroit has fared since it hosted its Super Bowl game a few years ago. Meanwhile, Fox59 News reports on the record number of water main breaks that have occurred in this city this year, 400 and climbing, because we've chosen to spend billions on sports facilities over the past four decades rather than repair our city's crumbling infrastructure.


James said...

I understand the sentiment, but I'm not sure that I agree with everything that you've said.

Look, I see some of the Superbowl prep work as being an "excuse" to do things that will have an ongoing benefit... sort of like getting the living room repainted before guests arrive. It needs to be done anyway, but putting a deadline on it makes it happen.

I've always wondered why they haven't moved the fire headquarters out of the Mass Ave area... it's not a great use of that space. And reusing school 97 for that is a great idea.

The beautification along I70 to the airport is another great project.

Reuse of the mall on Shadeland is a good idea as well, I don't know what happened to the the data center plan.

varangianguard said...

Wait, 25 W. 9th is in the "heart of downtown"?

Inventory the evidence room. The Public Safety Director has been smoking something - again.

25 W. 9th is along the extreme northern fringe of the downtown core, not in the "heart". Jeez dude, having a Ph.d ain't all that, is it?

Cato said...

The highway beautification is stupid. Beautify a neighborhood, not a highway.

We don't live on a highway. Get to the highway last. Indy has miles and miles of dumpy areas that need beautifying.

Advance Indiana said...

That's not their goal, Cato. It's all about window dressing and looking good to outsiders. They're counting on the outsiders not looking under the beds and in the closets to see how bad things really are in this town.

Marycatherine Barton said...

I too hope that someone is keeping a tab on what Marion County Government is spending for one super bowl game. Thanks for this slamming piece, AI.

James said...

Cato and AI:

I agree that there are lots of places that need work... but some of those places are getting work done on them. The legacy projects on the eastside are just one example.

That said, roadways aren't just a sewer for automobiles, although we treat them that way here. It makes sense that the route from the airport look good, not only for this event but for all of the guests that come in from the airport.

The landscaping on a roadway shouldn't be an afterthought. I'm surprised that we have such low standards for INDOT landscaping and such. You would never get by with the lack of trees and landscaping in most other states. Those sound barrier walls, for example, are covered in vines on the east coast.

It's impossible to fix everything - and not everyone will agree on the priorities. But I think that most of the projects represent a good cross section and they aren't all just about the folks who are attending the game.

Advance Indiana said...

Landscaping, particularly trees, are not planted near Interstate highways to avoid the attendant problems with downed branches, leaves, etc. covering the pavement when it storms and creating driving hazards.

James said...

AI: You don't get out much, do you?

They don't do that in Indiana because there are large mowing contracts. You go to Maryland, for example, and you would think that you are traveling in a woods... not a densely populated area. It's easy to simply stop mowing 40 feet from the road and let areas beyond that go natural. It would cost less too.

Cloverleafs and ramps should be planted with trees, shrubs and native wild flowers, etc. There's no excuse for the nasty post-industrial look of our roadways, particularly in Marion County. With a little bit of forethought these areas would not only look good but could clean surface water runoff as well.

I've seen similar roadway landscaping in other states too. It's an attitude problem in Indiana, not a driving hazard problem.

Southsider said...

Any idea who will attend to and maintain this I-70 landscaping project once it is established? Or will it become overgrown after the 2012 Super Bowl?

Paul K. Ogden said...

I believe it is against federal regulations to plant trees in interstate right of ways. I'm working on an eminent domain case now where they are widening a state highway (using party federal money) and they had to eliminate the tree buffer.

Apparently it's all about safety...they don't want the trees running off the road and hitting trees.

guy77money said...

I know when the Super Bowl was held in Detroit a large number of corporate 500 corporations decided to have their parties in Las Vegas. Who in their right minds thinks lets go to Indianapolis in the winter! With a potential lock out of the players ,I set the odds at about 95 percent that at least the first 4 regular games will be canceled. I suspect there will be a back lash against the NFL and wouldn't be surprised if our Super Bowl gets crummy ratings and there will be more owners looking for bail outs from the tax payers.

dcrutch said...

This is a local example of what's offensive to those of us who believe in reducing goverment and spending. Again, 88% of Republicans, 74% of Independents, and 44% of Democrats agreed in a WSJ-cited poll that "reduce federal government" was issue one. That's a majority akin to the America that opposes Obamacare, Arizona's illegal immigration response, and building a mosque near Ground Zero.

What do you imagine these same citizens think about 33M for the Pacers, basketall, a huge loan for Lilly development, and rennovating Wishard based on a revenue stream of overcharging the feds (with our properties as plan B)- all while half the kids can't graduate downtown, the libraries reduce hours, and we can't test a cop for being drunk?

They think local goverment is as corrupt and detached from the basic needs of citizens as D.C.

If we don't get involved and take our goverment back, we get what we deserve.