Republican Indianapolis mayoral candidate Jefferson Shreve announced his vision for downtown Indianapolis Tuesday, making sure to draw a stark comparison between himself and Democratic incumbent Mayor Joe Hogsett.
The plan includes efforts to fill vacant commercial spaces in the city’s downtown and reopen Monument Circle to vehicular traffic.
Shreve made his announcement in Monument Circle, standing in front of poster board photos from downtown protests in May 2020. He said the photos underscored what happens when leadership fails.
Shreve said the next big opportunity for downtown investment will come from the division of Indiana University and Purdue University at IUPUI. It’s a split with which he claims Hogsett has largely been uninvolved.
“I will not be absent as we plan for this exciting part of the future of our city,” he said.
Shreve underlined his desire to allow traffic to begin flowing through Monument Circle again -- claiming that local businesses have taken issue with Spark on the Circle, which put down turf and spaces to sit and play around a portion of the circle.
“I’ve met with downtown community leaders, some of whom are standing with me here, who share in my desire to restore Monument Circle. It starts with reopening it to vehicular traffic,” he said. “...we need to make it easier to get around our city generally and certainly around Monument [Circle] so patrons can support the retailers and office users right here around the heart.”
The vision for downtown is wide-ranging, focusing not just on the IUPUI split but also on plans to address panhandling, bring more people to work at the City-County Building, and preserve the downtown heliport.
On Monday, Hogsett announced plans to move hundreds of employees back into the CCB.
“We’re lagging behind once-peer cities like Columbus, Nashville, and even Austin,” Shreve said. “We need to inject dynamism again.”
Shreve was joined during his press conference by downtown business owners and former Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard.
In a statement, Hogsett’s campaign manager asked residents to compare “whatever Jefferson’s plan happens to be” with the mayor’s $9 billion Downtown Resiliency Strategy.
But in order for residents to do that, the statement continued, Shreve would have to provide “more details than today’s 500-word vision statement.”