INDIANAPOLIS — Fountain Square is known for arts, culture and it's quirkiness.
The plaza that is home to the historic fountain, has been described as a ghost town since the pandemic. Now, the community is trying to breathe new life into the center of the neighborhood.
"The fountain is Fountain Square but it's currently not really a booming location,” Brooke Tuggle, Owner of Tuggles Gifts and Goods said.
Tuggle sells items made from local artists and business owners across the city. Shopping local and showing support to local artists is a central focus of the Fountain Square community. While the plaza has been struggling to get back to normal, it hasn’t always been that way.
"Pre-Covid we had regular concerts that would happen here and obviously with COVID it made a lot of that really difficult, " Laura Giffel the District Manager for Fountain Fletcher District said.
That's why people in the neighborhood are working to crowdfund $17,500, which will be matched by the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) as part of it’s Creating Places Initiative.
"We've run into challenges with the space being here but no one really knows how they use it, when can they use it, and what tools are available to make this space active, "Giffel said.
If the money is raised, the Fountain Square Community will use it to add new lighting, new tables and chairs and funds will be used to pay for entertainment.
"We have so many different types of artists and talent that we want to be able to showcase all of that,” Giffel said. “Everybody who is an amateur artist that's just getting started to somebody that's been doing this their whole life."
This grant programhas been around since 2016 and is something IHCDA says has created more economic development in communities across the state.
"We've seen communities not only building second projects but sometimes a new grocery store coming in and new businesses coming in,” Meagan Heber the Placemaking Manager at IHCDA said. “People are starting to fix up where their public space is. “
Bringing more business to the area, is what the Fountain Square Community is hoping for.
"Our ultimate goal is that a couple times a week this space will be busy and so people can say oh we don't have plans on Thursday or Friday night, but I know if I come down here to Fountain Fletcher that I am going to find something to do,” Giffel said. “We hope that this can be that hub that they can go out to dinner, go shop, but that they know there is always something going on here."
The money for this project has to be to raised by July 1st.
If it’s raised, the Fountain Square neighborhood hopes to have the new equipment and performances started by late summer. To donate or learn more about the project click here.