Indianapolis gets new cultural district, wants your help designing it

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INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis is getting a new cultural district called Market East. It’ll be the city’s seventh cultural district and will be on and around the old Market Square Arena site.

Mayor Greg Ballard announced the plan Wednesday from the Old City Hall, which will be part of Market East.

“Market East will be different than other cultural districts,” said Mayor Ballard. “The new district is more about tomorrow than it is about today or even yesterday.”

It’ll also include the City Market and new signature structures like the IndyGO Downtown Transit Center, the Market Square North Tower, Cummins global distribution headquarters and the newly completed first phase of the Artistry Project.

“Indianapolis has really grown up,” said Tom Laing. “When we came here, the tallest building was the Soldiers and Sailors Monument!”

Also part of Market East is the City-County Building, and the City is launching a contest for that part of the design.

The current plaza is deteriorating.

“You see where we are at right now, so yeah, it’d be nice to have a place to sit and have your lunch outside,” said Rhoda Miller.

Tom Laing is thinking statues.

“You get one of our hero ball players and put him up there!”

“Indianapolis needs to raise its architectural game,” said Mayor Ballard. “Market East will be our showcase.”

Click here for submission details and requirements.

Final designs will be reviewed by a panel of local city stakeholders. The winning design is expected to be announced in October. The winner gets $15,000.

It’s similar to a 2011 contest to design Monument Circle. Indianapolis Downtown Inc. solicited bids and got 64 designs. French designers Jean-Baptise Cuelle and Francois David won the $5,000 prize.

Their plan and those of the other finalists were given to the Department of Public Works. DPW’s Stephanie Wilson said they’re in the design phase but still several years away from beginning construction. It will cost $60 million and Monument Circle needs an overhaul of its infrastructure.