Lafayette Square area to be re-branded International Marketplace

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It's an area that's been in the news more often for its crime and blight than its success and achievements.

Now city leaders want to change the public perception of the Lafayette Square area on the city's west side and they're starting with a new name and a new look.

When you hear of the Lafayette Square area, economic growth and development might not be the first things that come to mind. But this area is emerging as a cultural destination represented by more than 70 languages and ethnicities. That's why it was officially re-branded International Marketplace at a dedication Wednesday morning.

The New York Times has recognized the area as a place "where the world comes to eat" and with good reason. There are more than 50 restaurants here that cover many areas of the world from Africa to South America and Greece, India to Southeast Asia. Add to that specialty stores, grocers and bakeries and you can see why the city wants this to be an exciting new destination for city residents and out-of-town visitors.

"This is probably the most diverse area the city of Indianapolis has to offer. It kind of started happening by itself organically. We realized about five years ago that we had a gem that was happening. With so many different ethnic restaurants and bakeries and restaurants--food desert--we're not," said Mary Clark, International Marketplace Coalition Executive Director.

The area we're talking about here on the city's northwest side officially designated as the International Marketplace. Depending on how you slice it, we're talking about a 10-12-square block area nestled between Lafayette Rd. and High School Rd.

Wednesday's big event included the dedication of a new gateway structure and other signage to mark the area with a new style and hopefully a new attitude.