Without question, Indianapolis is our state’s capital and economic engine. All Hoosiers depend in one way or another on the success of our capital city.
Indianapolis should be thriving. But turning on the news offers daily reminders of the city’s challenges: crumbling infrastructure and widespread crime.
Our state’s future depends on Indianapolis leading and outcompeting peer cities for new businesses and the best talent, not just in the Midwest, but across the country and world.
Right now, that’s simply not the case. Our capital city needs a turnaround.
Career politicians and insiders like to point fingers. I want to see that our leaders are held accountable. As a candidate for governor, I’m here to offer solutions for the role the state of Indiana can play in strengthening Indianapolis by securing and revitalizing its Downtown Core.
Our Capital Zone Plan, released today in a full white paper, is a playbook for achieving that vision.
We would begin with fixing Downtown’s crumbling streets. First, the state will establish a Capital Zone responsible for roads and surface infrastructure inside the Mile Square – the downtown core – from planning and construction to ongoing maintenance. We will do this in partnership with local elected officials.
Next, we will remove violent criminals from the streets and support our law enforcement officers by establishing a bipartisan prosecutor review board. Composed of elected prosecutors, this board will create a necessary check to prevent rogue prosecutors from unilaterally defying our laws.
Finally, we will provide Indianapolis with more public safety resources by establishing a strong partnership between the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the Indiana State Police, putting more boots on the ground to secure downtown Indianapolis while making the entire city safer.
This three step approach will set the table for securing and revitalizing downtown Indianapolis as our state’s centerpiece, both economically and symbolically.
I don’t believe government alone is the solution. Business and civic leaders in Indianapolis, a city that has historically had the best of both, need to step up to preserve and enhance our state capital. Our administration will act to inspire, support, and convene these leaders to reinvest in the Capital Zone and make a major course correction for the entire city.
All Hoosiers have a direct interest in Indianapolis’ future. Indiana taxpayers have made large investments in stadiums, parks, memorials, the Statehouse, and the convention center. These investments can and must be protected for all of us.
Nobody is pretending there is a magic wand to wave away problems in Indianapolis. But we must have the honesty to say that many of Downtown Indianapolis’ challenges are the result of leadership vacuums and poor policy choices.
Our plan is a big step toward turning Indianapolis around.
With the right vision and leadership, Indianapolis should be outcompeting cities across the world with a rebuilt downtown, world-class infrastructure, safe streets, and a vibrant future.
Eric Doden is a businessman, past president of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, and a Republican candidate for Indiana Governor.