The media is reporting on a huge gift from the Endowment to Indianapolis Parks. Again.

The gift acknowledges the importance of parks to our quality of life: for recreation, for contemplation, for the aesthetics of daily life. It also acknowledges our collective refusal to grow up and take responsibility for our own community.

Lilly has made other significant gifts intended to keep our city’s parks from falling into even greater disrepair. Back when I was in City Hall, the Endowment was accompanying those gifts with warnings to city officials that the largesse would not go on forever, that the gifts were intended to give the City some breathing room, some time during which we would have to come up with resources to sustain these important urban amenities.

We haven’t. Instead, we’ve bought into the “how dare you tax me” mentality–the spoiled child syndrome that demands goodies but is unwilling to get a job to earn the money to buy them. The Endowment, meanwhile, is like the rich, indulgent uncle who gives in and bails us out of the consequences of our irresponsibility.

One of these days, our rich uncle is going to say “enough,” and we are going to be on our own. The question is: will we be grown-up enough to pay for the services that make a city livable?


  1. Thanks Prof. This is a “R” State and the party line is that you can have whatever you want AND lower taxes. Nonsense I know but if they repeat a lie long enough some folks will believe it. In some states, more than others. The other huge lies was “We can wage two huge foreign wars AND have a tax cut.” GREAT IDEA. Eventually we have to pay for their nonsense. The adults have to take over and pay for the party and clean up their messes.

  2. Unless we get a real change in leadership, the people who run the city will never put money toward parks. They’re simply not sexy enough. Now big time sports…they’re manly and important!

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