Business, community leaders working to make Indianapolis a destination city

Posted at 11:36 PM, Apr 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-29 08:16:53-04

INDIANAPOLIS — On Thursday, Downtown Indy, Inc. and other city/community leaders shared the latest trends and information regarding the strength of Downtown Indianapolis during the 2022 State of Downtown.

According to Downtown Indy, Inc., the economy downtown is helping support the entire county's overall tax base. Downtown contributes more than 19% of tax revenue for the city/county from downtown property taxes for Marion County and income tax revenue. Some other notable numbers are below.

  • Downtown Indy remains the fastest-growing neighborhood in Marion County. Downtown’s multi-family residential apartment occupancy is at 96.9 percent, indicating continued demand for downtown living. 
  • 2021 attendance numbers at downtown’s primary attractions/arts and cultural institutions grew 50 percent over 2020, while attendance at sporting events grew 220 percent over 2020 numbers. 
  • 72 new street-level retail and restaurant businesses opened in 2021. 
  • Crime downtown continues to decline year over year — a staggering 44 percent lower than in 2016 and 24 percent lower than in 2020. 

A link to the report they put together is available here.

Alan Bacon, the co-Founder of GANGGANG, a cultural development firm, is hopeful continued investment in Downtown Indianapolis will turn the city into a destination spot.

"What are some of your favorite places to visit in the country? Nashville, Miami, L.A., New Orleans, New York? Now think about why you like to visit those cities," Bacon said.

Bacon says all those cities offer something unique and special — it boils down to the culture.

"Culture is what gives you an identity as a person and as a place," Bacon said. "What would it look like if Indianapolis leaned into culture? What would it look like if Indianapolis leaned further in and deeper into our identity as a city?"

Bacon wants people to continue investing in the thriving arts and music scene. He mentioned the success Downtown Indy had with the In The Mix Program, a strategy to recruit and invest in and/or expand Black-owned businesses Downtown.

Bacon says that strategy brings more culture to the center city. The work hasn't gone unnoticed.

"Our creatives aren't leaving for other cities in droves anymore. They're not leaving. They're leading right here in Indianapolis. The creatives that left are coming back and there's a buzz about Indianapolis," he said. "There's a creative renaissance happening and it's happening right here in Indianapolis."

Bacon believes continued investment in the city's downtown, specifically focusing on culture, will lead to the Circle City becoming a destination spot.