Boys and Girls Club celebrates sidewalk investment, hopeful it’ll save lives

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Mayor Greg Ballard has announced a $350 million investment to improve neighborhoods across Indianapolis.

Mayor Ballard was joined by city leaders when he made the announcement Thursday afternoon. He held a news conference in front of the Keenan-Stahl unit of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Indianapolis, which is located on Troy Avenue.

“I am proud to announce that we have identified a way to pay for another $350 million in improvements to our neighborhoods without a tax increase,” Mayor Ballard said.

Members of the organization have wanted sidewalks in front of their building and throughout their neighborhood for years. One of the members of their club was actually killed as he tried crossing Troy Avenue to get to a bus stop. Recently, a 7-year-old boy was also hit by a car as he tried to cross Troy Avenue.

“If you come down here in the evening, you’ll see the kids walking on the brim of the road and it’s actually scary for them,” Frank Mascari said.

Mascari serves District 20 for the Indianapolis-Marion County Council. He said he is happy to see city leaders stand behind club members who have demanded change.

“It just shows the positive thinking (of these) kids. These kids at Keenan-Stahl are the ones that brought this and you helped by putting it on television and Lori Miser and Mayor Ballard, they stepped up to the plate,” Mascari said.

The proposed project will add sidewalks along Troy Avenue from Carson to Keystone. It is part of a larger plan to improve neighborhoods across the city. Mayor Ballard said they have invested nearly half a million dollars to improve streets, sidewalks, bridge, trails, and parks. He said it was possible through the Rebuild Indy Initiative. He said this new investment will also improve things like bridges, bike lanes, sidewalks, parks, streets, and alleys.

“Monday, City-County Council President Maggie Lewis and Council Minority Leader Michael McQuillen will co-author a bipartisan plan to issue a bond on the city’s increase and state transportation funding,” said Ballard.

“That money, when combined with our existing state and federal transportation money, will fund this $350 million effort over the next three years.”

The bond will be introduced Monday. City leaders believe the construction along Troy Avenue will begin as early as next year.

“Now, the city has a way to pay for these sidewalks and also in many other neighborhoods,” Mayor Ballard said.

“It shows our kids that you can take action in a community. It doesn’t cost money to make something happen for the good of the community,” said Rick Whitten, Boys and Girls Clubs of Indianapolis Executive Director.