Downtown businesses want INDOT to rethink split project plans

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - There's a new push from downtown businesses opposing the construction of the I65/70 split project.

Many business owners are concerned the project plans could mean property values in a historic neighborhood would take a hit.

"RETHINK 65/70 REBUILD IT RIGHT" signs can be seen scattered along downtown streets and in storefronts in Fountain Square.

"I've continued to really believe in the neighborhood," said Invoke Yoga Studio owner Amy Peddycord.

She bought signs for outside her business and home in the St. Joseph Historic Neighborhood area.

"I was an early champion of the neighborhood. I've owned Invoke here downtown for 13 years," she said.

Peddycord purchased the first floor of a building on Ft. Wayne Avenue that's more than 148 years old. She saw potential in the historic building and area around it. She says she feels blindsided though that the surrounding landscape could drastically change.

"We would definitely be affected. It's loud and it's an eyesore, so having it even broader and more prominent will effect property values and will effect my business," Peddycord said.

The plans for the I65/70 split would widen the interstate. Many residents and community members are concerned adding the lanes and new facades to the side of the interstate would mask the historic architecture and eliminate green spaces.

Calvin Fletcher's Coffee Company said this about INDOT's proposal: "ReTHINK the I65/70 split plan. Don't again destroy urban neighborhoods with a short-sighted plan."

Residents involved in the "RETHINK 65/70" campaign are hoping to convince INDOT to consider plans that would include a boulevard system to ease traffic flow and incorporate things like greenery and bike lanes.

"I do know that it's 50 years old and it needs a facelift, but I would like to think about other options prior to a huge construction," Peddycord said.

In a statement, INDOT stated they are still in the early environmental review process on the reconstruction stating:

"Multiple alternatives are being evaluated, including at least two alternatives put forward by community groups. No decision has been made on a preferred alternative, and we are more than a year from completing preliminary design. Final design will not occur until after completion of the environmental review process. INDOT encourages all stakeholders to continue to be engaged in the project and offer input as we move forward."

Click here for more information on INDOT's project.

Click here for more on "RETHINK 65/70."