My husband and I ate dinner last night at the Left Bank, a nice bistro at water’s level on the Indianapolis canal, then walked a couple of blocks along the canal to a program at the Center for Inquiry.While I often walk or bike along the water in nice weather, it was the first time I’d been on the canal this spring, and I was shocked and dismayed by the deterioration of the concrete walks and the pedestrian bridges, and the peeling paint beneath those bridges. The concrete at the edge of the water is crumbling into the water at several places. The concrete in the steps down from street to canal level was so eaten away that the rebar showed.
This is absolutely inexcusable.
The canal not only represents a huge investment by prior administrations, it is an extremely important amenity in a city without mountains, oceans or other natural draws. It has triggered significant private investment, and it is very heavily used. Whenever I am there, I see large numbers of people walking, biking, paddle-boating and enjoying themselves. It is a beautiful urban space, a huge asset to Indianapolis and it absolutely must be maintained. Its current condition is criminal.
I’ve been watching the slapdash way in which the much-touted street and sidewalk “infrastructure improvements” are being made with some dismay. I’ve yet to see an inspector, and to my (admittedly non-expert) eyes, it looks as if the administration is doing superficial paving that will look good through the Superbowl (assuming that happens), but falls far short of what would be involved in genuine long-term repairs. I hope I’m wrong about that. But Ballard and his administration haven’t even made that minimal level of effort at the canal–and we are at risk of losing one of the rare jewels of this city.
Eric Hoffer once wrote that the measure of a civilization is its ability to maintain what it has built.
I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that an administration unable to manage its own parking meters is too inept to maintain its own infrastructure, but Indianapolis really cannot afford four more years of this.