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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Ind. Gov't. - Concerns expressed about the proposed justice center

Donna Sink, American Institute of Architects, Indianapolis has a letter today in the Indianapolis Star, expressing concerns about the proposed justice center:

I’m concerned about the long-term impact of stripping the jail and courts from Downtown and plopping a new justice center on a vacant lot (the former GM stamping plant), just because it’s available. I’m concerned what it’s going to do to our Downtown, and I’m concerned about a piecemeal development of the former GM site.

The City-County Council was right to delay action on the proposal. However, there’s still plenty of concern that it could become reality.

The American Institute of Architects Indianapolis is not opposed to a new justice center; in fact, we agree that it’s needed. We’re concerned about two issues: That proper public input was not sufficient, and there’s not a long-term urban plan or vision for either the justice center or the GM site.

Forward-thinking urban planning means getting input from many voices. It means finding the right location, and it means considering the larger-scale impact of every project. For example, how will moving the jail out of Downtown impact the vibrancy of the urban core? If the justice center is built on the GM site, will attorneys and other Downtown businesses who are regular users of the building vacate their offices? If so, how will that impact those businesses around the City County Building and the jail?

How does this affect transportation, including the under-construction transit center next to the current courts? Considering this investment in public transit, what mode of transit will users of the new justice center be able to use to get there?

There are a whole host of questions that haven’t been answered, and taxpayers haven’t been given sufficient opportunity to even ask. The City-County Council would be wise to start the process again, while considering the justice center in relation to the Indy ReZone process, the current developments in the Downtown core, and our city’s future hopes for our close-in neighborhoods.

Other developments paid with taxpayer money, such as White River State Park, have been developed successfully because we took the time to involve the public and stakeholders. We took the time to explore all the alternatives, and reject ideas that didn’t represent the best goals of our community and its citizens. Because of that engagement, we have a world-class urban park. The GM site’s proximity to this enormously popular park demands that we consider its development just as carefully and collectively.

Let’s not invest in a new justice center until the people have been heard, and we understand all the costs associated with it.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 26, 2015 01:23 PM
Posted to Indiana Government