1986: Projecting the future of Indianapolis in the year 2000

Posted at 5:00 AM, Nov 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-18 05:01:00-05

INDIANAPOLIS — In the fall of 1986, WRTV journalists aired a series of reports projecting what Indianapolis would look like in the year 2000.

The stories came on the heels of a 57-page report from the Indiana Economic Development Council titled, “The Futures of Indiana: Trends Affecting Economic Change, 1986-2000.”

The research looked at trends in the state and made projections based on those trends.

WRTV journalists Howard Caldwell, Jack Rinehart and Gerry Dick, all filed stories examining what Indianapolis might look like in the year 2000.

Caldwell noted that Indianapolis’ growth in the years leading up to 1986 was the result of planning and cooperation that crossed political, governmental and corporate boundaries.

Caldwell also explored how Indianapolis got its start.

Butler University history professor Dr. George Geib told Caldwell that social activities and clubs were just as vital to the city’s creation as the railroads.

Geib also said planning was part of the city’s heritage. He cited the redevelopment of Union Station as an example of how Indianapolis approaches change in a slower, more methodical fashion.

St. Louis and Cincinnati completed similar redevelopment projects before Indianapolis.

“One of those models, St. Louis, was successful. The other, Cincinnati, clearly was not. We had the opportunity to look at both and profit from their experience.”

Caldwell then asked, “Have we done the things in the past to help make our future bright?”

“Indianapolis has always emphasized family, church and neighborhood,” said Geib. “Those will still be important things 14 years from now.”

As for life downtown, Gerry Dick reported traffic was expected to increase by 70-thousand vehicles each day and that employers might implement a four day work week or flexible work hours to cut down on congestion.

Another tool to alleviate congestion — a rapid bus system to and from the northeast side.

As for retail, Jack Rinehart reported Indianapolis would soon have a downtown shopping mall that would strengthen the city’s retail base.

Planners also told Rinehart to expect continued moderate and steady growth.