INDIANAPOLIS — Rival candidates for Indianapolis mayor are not fans of his recent public schedule and think Hogsett is using events to do some low-key re-election campaigning.

On Wednesday, Mayor Joe Hogsett held a news conference about the once trouble-plagued Oaktree Apartments complex on the far east side. Hogsett described it as “dilapidated, run-down and crime-riddled.”

But after wrestling away control of the property, the city had the structures razed in 2019. Since then, it has been 19 acres of cleared property. Now, Hogsett wants construction there.

“We’re going to issue an R-F-I (Request For Information) that will hopefully result in something in keeping with the community’s vision for (the former) apartment complex,” said Hogsett.

It’s an early first step to transform the site along North Post Road. Developers are asked to submit ideas by January 31 on how they envision turning the property into a multi-use location that includes new housing. Deputy Mayor Scarlett Andrews says it’s hoped a plan can be selected by mid-next year.

But just six days earlier, Hogsett held a similar press event. At P30, which is also on the east side, Hogsett chronicled his administration’s development success stories from the past year.

Neither were classic “lead stories,” but local media outlets including FOX59 were at both and aired stories about both.

It’s this coverage that irritates opposition mayoral candidates.

We asked Hogsett if he believes he gets a campaign benefit from his official public schedule. His reply was, “Not really. It’s just being mayor.”

At the Oaktree site, we spoke with Democratic candidate Greg Meriweather who completely disagrees, “I think it’s a campaign. As we stand in a community filled with blight it makes me wonder where has this push been to start talking about these problems?”

Agreeing is another Democrat running for mayor, State Representative Robin Shackleford, “We have seen a lot of (Hogsett public events) since my announcement (to run for mayor). We’ve seen more activity from the Mayor than we’ve seen in the past eight years.”

Republican mayoral candidate James Jackson, who would only face the winner of the Democratic primary in November, believes he sees a familiar pattern, “It’s classic Joe Hogsett. His playbook is full of things like this.”

After the Oaktree property announcement, Hogsett did mingle with those in attendance, shook hands and took pictures with people. It was the kind of activity that is common at official functions and campaign events.

But Hogsett insists the only thing going on was him doing his job, “This is what a mayor is expected to do, invest in neighborhoods, make sure we are improving the quality of life for the residents, particularly the far east side.”