Risk pays off as Cultural Trail celebrates opening - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Risk pays off as Cultural Trail celebrates opening

Posted: Updated:
Brian Payne came up with the idea of the trail and helped convince others to make it happen. Brian Payne came up with the idea of the trail and helped convince others to make it happen.
  • HeadlinesHeadlinesMore>>

  • Eyewitness News wins 7 AP awards

    Eyewitness News wins 7 AP awards

    Saturday, April 19 2014 11:59 PM EDT2014-04-20 03:59:03 GMT
    WTHR Channel 13 Saturday was honored with seven first place awards from the Indiana Associated Press, including Best Newscast and Best Continuing Coverage.More >>
    WTHR Channel 13 Saturday was honored with seven first place awards from the Indiana Associated Press, including Best Newscast and Best Continuing Coverage.More >>
  • Pacers Fans leave with minutes still left in the game, disappointed by loss

    Pacers Fans leave with minutes still left in the game, disappointed by loss

    Saturday, April 19 2014 11:16 PM EDT2014-04-20 03:16:57 GMT
    All of the Pacers' fans were decked out in their blue and gold Saturday night. By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, though, fans were singing a different tune. Many left early - even some season ticket holders.More >>
    All of the Pacers' fans were decked out in their blue and gold Saturday night. By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, though, fans were singing a different tune. Many left early - even some season ticket holders.More >>
  • Pope seeks to bring faith to "ends of the Earth"

    Pope seeks to bring faith to "ends of the Earth"

    Saturday, April 19 2014 10:35 PM EDT2014-04-20 02:35:31 GMT
    Pope Francis baptized 10 people Saturday and urged them to bring their faith "to the ends of the Earth" as he presided over an Easter Vigil in St. Peter's Basilica.More >>
    Pope Francis baptized 10 people Saturday and urged them to bring their faith "to the ends of the Earth" as he presided over an Easter Vigil in St. Peter's Basilica.More >>
INDIANAPOLIS -

The Indianapolis Cultural Trail celebrates its official grand opening Friday and Saturday with music, parades and other events.

The landscaped trail is eight miles long, connecting downtown's five cultural districts. There are benches, bike racks and public art along the way. Groundbreaking was in 2008 with the trail built section-by-section.

The trail was the brainchild of Brian Payne, who was on the city's cultural commission when he came up with the idea.

Payne said it was the result of three things: finding a way to link the cultural districts (which were disconnected), narrowing downtown streets which he felt were too wide and fast, and his introduction to the Monon Trail.

"It was a spring day in April of 2001 and there were, like, 10,000 people on the Monon having the time of their life and I thought, 'What about an urban Monon?'," Payne recalls, adding he started "talking to everyone I knew about it."

Initially, he thought everyone loved the idea. He said it wasn't until later they told him they were actually thinking "this is never going to happen, this guy's crazy."

But persistence paid off. It wasn't long before he found some donors willing to help fund it. At first, the trail was to cost $6 million, but then it became "more ambitious."

The final cost?

$63 million with the federal government providing $35.5 million in transportation funds and $27.5 million from private donors.

"One person did not make it happen. It took a lot of generous philanthropists and a lot of city leaders buying into a radical idea," Payne said.

The trail has changed how people see and get around downtown.

"We have this unfair reputation that we're not willing to take risks, we're not innovative or creative, we're this sleepy second-tier city. I don't believe any of that," Payne said.

While several see the Cultural Trail as a "game changer," it follows many others. Eyewitness News took an informal survey, calling 20 business, civic and political leaders in Indianapolis.

We asked them what they thought were the three top three things that helped transform or define downtown, things other cities don't have.

Getting the most votes? White River State Park, a hub for museums, the zoo, Victory Field and outdoor concerts. In second place, redevelopment of the downtown canal with its sidewalks, green space and, now, restaurants. The redevelopment of Mass Avenue came in third for bringing more restaurants, shops and theater downtown.

Payne wasn't surprised.

"When I started trail planning, I remember only two restaurants on Mass existed in 2001," he said.

Also mentioned several times? Building Circle Centre Mall and making Indianapolis the amateur sports capital of the world.

Payne offered another (which three other people mentioned, too.)

"We built an NFL stadium (the Hoosier Dome) without a team, so these are big risks," he said.

The American Legion Mall, buying the land for the IUPUI campus and "going for the Super Bowl" were also cited.

As for the Cultural Trail, Payne said, "we took a big risk, we pulled it off and in doing so we innovated," creating an attraction he hopes people will enjoy for many years and many miles to come.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Friends, colleagues remember life of slain IMPD officer

    Friends, colleagues remember life of slain IMPD officer

    Saturday, April 19 2014 12:34 PM EDT2014-04-19 16:34:23 GMT
    Picture provided by familyPicture provided by family
    The influence of an IMPD officer killed by her ex-husband in a murder-suicide went far beyond the police department. Neighbors and those who worked with Ofc. Kimberlee Carmack are still trying to understandMore >>
    The influence of an IMPD officer killed by her ex-husband in a murder-suicide went far beyond the police department.More >>
  • Franklin mom visited by phony CPS workers

    Franklin mom visited by phony CPS workers

    Thursday, April 17 2014 8:11 AM EDT2014-04-17 12:11:37 GMT
    A Franklin woman is warning other mothers after she says two people came to her house and threatened to take her children.More >>
    A Franklin woman is warning other mothers after she says two people came to her house and threatened to take her children.More >>
  • Murder-suicide tragedy rare, but followed pattern

    Murder-suicide tragedy rare, but followed pattern

    Friday, April 18 2014 11:49 PM EDT2014-04-19 03:49:46 GMT
    The domestic violence case that ended in the murder-suicide of two IMPD officers reveals a serious danger for police officers that goes far beyond the risks they face each day in the line of duty.More >>
    The domestic violence case that ended in the murder-suicide of two IMPD officers reveals a serious danger for police officers that goes far beyond the risks they face each day in the line of duty.More >>
Powered by WorldNow