Next month, Indianapolis will host its first Super Bowl. But long before the opening kickoff, the city has been busy getting a facelift.
In fact, the city is in the midst of a "mini-building boom" as it prepares for millions of eyes and thousands of visitors to descends on the city, New York Times reports.
Indianapolis isn't just installing a huge (but temporary) zipline through downtown, they're making major, lasting improvement to the city. $187 million has been spent on infrastructure -- sidewalks, streets, and parks -- like the pedestrian-friendly street near the downtown stadium. And the city also opened a 1,000 room hotel in downtown.
But it could be a struggling neighborhood that stands to gain the most from the city's Super Bowl bid, Jamie Duffy writes:
[A]way from the spotlights, the biggest beneficiary has been the Near Eastside, a 44-square-block area a mile east of downtown. With high rates of crime and poverty and a foreclosure rate that led the nation in 2004, the neighborhood had trouble even attracting a grocery store to serve its 40,000 residents. Fortune smiled on the area when Mark Miles, the board chairman of the Super Bowl Host Committee, decided the neighborhood would become part of the 2008 bid, after Indianapolis lost out the previous year to Dallas.
The Near Eastside neighborhood had produced a quality-of-life plan in 2007, the result of more than two years’ committee work under the guidance of James Taylor, the executive director of the John H. Boner Community Center on East 10th Street, the heart of the Near Eastside. One of the things participants said was needed was a community center.
With the help of $1 million from the National Football League, the neighborhood now has its community center.
The Super Bowl bid included a proposal for what became the Chase Near Eastside Legacy Center, on the grounds of Arsenal Tech [High School]. At more than 27,000 square feet, the center will have fitness operations, a media studio, a mobile computer lab, an educational greenhouse and garden, an instructional kitchen and an art studio.
Now, if only the city could drastically improve its transit.
Photo: 2012 Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee
Unexpected Benefits from a Super Bowl Bid [New York Times]
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com