Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett introduces 3-year ‘It’s My City’ beautification initiative

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett wants everyone to do their part to keep Indy beautiful and reinforce what it means to be a good citizen.

The mayor and other community leaders announced the “It’s My City” initiative Wednesday. The program calls for residents to help make Indianapolis a cleaner, greener city. It aims to clean up neighborhoods and expand greenspaces, among other goals.

The program is inspired by late Indianapolis Mayor William Hudnut, who challenged Indy residents to put litter in its place with the “Hudnut Hook,” the subject of a 1977 public service announcement. Hudnut’s leadership led to the founding of the Clean City Committee, which is now Keep Indianapolis Beautiful.

The anti-littering and beautification campaign is set to last three years, with the focus in 2017 on getting Indianapolis clean, in 2018 on adding more greenspaces and in 2019 on keeping Indianapolis beautiful.

“If we all do a little, we can change a lot,” Hogsett said Wednesday.

He recalled the 1977 PSA featuring Hudnut in which the late mayor said, “If you see litter, can it with the Hudnut Hook.” Hogsett said he wants Hudnut’s legacy to live on for years to come.

“The Hudnut Hook lives on, if not in footage, then in the hearts and minds of those who embraced it,” Hogsett said, referring to the city’s difficulty in finding a copy of the ad.

“It’s My City is ultimately about more than green, more than clean, more than beautiful. It is fundamentally about what it means to be good citizens of Indianapolis.”

David Forsell, president of Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, shared a story about Hudnut, who once encountered a travel writer who described the city as dirty and “unkempt.” The travel writer said people traveling through the Midwest might as well “skip” Indianapolis. Hudnut subsequently created a small city agency designed to keep the city clean.

“Bill Hudnut’s authentic joy in service and his larger than life presence, his innate understanding that beauty and environment health were essential to quality of life put the Clean City Committee on the map,” Forsell said.

After a few years, that agency was incorporated and later became Keep Indianapolis Beautiful.

“It’s an incredible legacy that KIB’s mission has continued to move forward thanks to Bill Hudnut and many mayors since,” Forsell said.

Those who joined Hogsett for the announcement hope the initiative will encourage more Hoosiers to get outside and take advantage of city parks. Getting active will address a multitude of health issues the city is facing, according to IU Health’s Joyce Hertko.

“We know that people who are physically active are less likely to develop diabetes and cardiovascular diseases,” Hertko said. “Through the ‘It’s My City’ Coalition and a number of projects including our Day of Service, [IU Health] will continue our efforts to clean, green and beautify our city.”

Eli Lilly is another partner with the initiative. Sherrie Bossung, Lilly’s director of community engagement, challenged everyone to take part.

“I don’t want anyone trashing my city,” Bossung said. “Let’s get to the point where we don’t have to worry about picking up trash, but we’re creating a culture where we have no trash. So that we have a community where we can focus our resources and our energy on the green and the beautiful.”

Hogsett introduced a new public service ad called “The Hogsett Hook” in which he tries to mimic Hudnut’s locally famous hook shot from a PSA that aired in 1977.

Learn more about the initiative at this website.

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