Local organizers reflect on last year’s Super Bowl as they aim to host again in 2018

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Georgia Street downtown is quiet now but a year ago it was wall-to-wall activity and shoulder-to-shoulder crowds as Super Bowl XLVI pulled in to town with all the excitement and hoopla and money accompanying one of the biggest annual events on the planet.

Next week the Super Bowl kicks off again in New Orleans and Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee will be there.

“The other cities are all trying to figure out which cities are serious about bidding and which ones are not,” said Indiana Sports Corp. President Allison Melangton. “We want to make sure everybody knows that we are dead serious about 2018 and we intend to bid and we intend to win.”

Super Bowl XLII will be on the line when the NFL owners meet in May of 2014. Melangton, who successfully led the bid to land Super Bowl XLVI, will play a role later this year in locking down the city’s strategy and theme for the 2018 campaign.

“We will need to challenge ourselves particularly on the Village,” she said. “We’ve proved that the Village model can work but what is going to be new and what is going to be different and something in 2014 will be different by 2018.”

While the Georgia Street Super Bowl Village was the hub of last year’s celebration, and proved to the NFL that a cold weather city could host its crown jewel event, the venue has gone mostly dormant this winter after a 2012 learning curve that saw merchants and city officials examining ways to make the rebuilt street and pedestrian mall a success.

“We are really excited about 2013,” said Melissa Thompson of Indianapolis Downtown Inc. “We have four events that IDI is sponsoring. The first one is on St. Patrick’s Day. We’ll have a big stage on Pennsylvania Street just like they did for the Super Bowl and a big block party.”

Thompson said businesses, public safety and code enforcement are figuring out how to utilize street side dining and event opportunities that attract natives and out-of-town visitors alike.

“Hooters has gotten their outdoor patio installed,” she said. “I know Tilted Kilt is getting ready to start building there so probably in May you’ll see a big cafe opening.”

More openings are expected on the eastside, home of the Super Bowl Legacy project, which spurred developments such as Clifford Corners on East 10th Street.

“Through the Legacy Project we received support as went through our zoning process, as we went through collaboration of pulling in our funding partners as well and then kind of just wrapping up the design,” said Tammi Hughes of the East 10th Street Civic Association as she
A couple blocks away on Jefferson Avenue, new and refurbished housing has taken root along with once-rare ‘For Sale’ signs.

“The Super Bowl Legacy, I would say, was a kind of watershed moment for our neighborhood,” said James Taylor of John H. Boner Community Center. “We just broke through a lot of community development issues and we have traction, whether it being housing or new business we have coming into the area that we didn’t have five or six years ago.

“For parts of our community it was a place of last resort. Now we have neighborhoods that are of choice in our community and it’s just been incredible that the momentum is continuing even a year later for the work that is happening.”

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