1983: ‘We’re not too proud to plagiarize!’ Tennessee delegation looks to copy Indy’s growth

Posted at 5:26 AM, Sep 14, 2023

INDIANAPOLIS — A delegation of about 50 Tennesseans visited Indianapolis 40 years ago in an effort to duplicate the city’s growth and development.

Community leaders from Chattanooga boarded a Metro bus during their 3-day visit to see Indianapolis’ accomplishments firsthand. Stops included several sports complexes that were used to host the National Sports Festival in 1982.

Metro bus in 1983
A delegation from Tennessee boards a Metro bus in September 1983.

“We’re using amateur athletics as part of our economic and growth strategy,” Sidney Weedman, executive director Commission for Downtown Indianapolis, told the busload of visitors ahead of their stop at the Major Taylor Velodrome.

Sidney Weedman on a Metro bus
Sidney Weedman discusses Indianapolis' strategy for economic growth.

WRTV reporter Marilyn Mitzel spoke with the mayor of Chattanooga about his visit outside the IU Natatorium.

“Indianapolis has really gained, in recent years, quite a reputation for making this a more liberal city in every respect,” Chattanooga Mayor Gene Roberts said. “We’re not too proud to plagiarize. If we see some good ideas here we can take back to Chattanooga, we’ll do that.”

Roberts said the group was also interested in UniGov, the city-county government body, as well as the city's industrial and commercial development near downtown.

The visit was coordinated via a nonprofit based in Washington D.C. called Partners for Livable Places, now known as Partners for Livable Communities.

“What we’re trying to get, is the people in Chattanooga, to look at it as creatively as the people in Indianapolis have,” Dorothy Jacbobson, vice president of Partners for Livable Places, said. “Very specifically, the way the whole 20-year update on the regional plan has been done. I think there are a lot of lessons here that they can learn.”