In defense of my Indiana home…

I grew up an hour north of Indianapolis. Bachelors from Ball State (ChirpChirp!) and masters from Indiana University (Go Hoosiers!). I cheer on every major and minor sports team from my home state. I love our museums and our parks and being a tourist in my own back yard. I’ve lived and traveled all over the world and yet as an adult I’ve chosen to call Indiana my home base. Maybe not forever (I have a serious case of “anywhere but here” disease), but for now and the foreseeable future. So it’s no surprise that I love Indy. We have Vonnegut and the Zoo, world class research and education opportunities, and one of the best children’s museums in the world. City Market is one of my favorite places to browse and eat, and Mass Ave is great for shopping. But we have a growing problem in Indy…

You hear about it all the time. A new bar pops up here, gourmet artisanal sandwiches there. Downtown Indy is becoming the hub of trendy happenings. Fancy high rise apartment complexes popping up everywhere and young, affluent professionals are flocking to the circle. Sounds great right? If you look at only the surface, sure. But when you dig a little deeper you find that we have a problem. When was the last time there was an innovation aimed at families (outside the already established zoos and museums)? When was the last time something was done to attract middle income professionals and young families. If you can’t attract families with children to your city, there’s not much longevity there. It worries me that Indy is riding a trend. And much like those amazing H&M pants I bought last fall, trends don’t last. Sure the city is better because of the restaurants, and First Fridays, and breweries. But they can’t prop up a city on their own. With the good schools (I’m looking at you, Center for Inquiry) catering only to the affluent neighborhoods and PBS Kids in the Park being cancelled this year, middle income families have very little reason to go downtown for anything other that the occasional event or museum visit.

If Indy can’t attract and keep families, its “coolness” is destined to be fleeting. And our city deserves better. We deserve better. So let’s think outside the box. Let’s not get distracted by the pretty shiny, fleeting trends. Our city is deep. Our city is cool. And you only get the best if you demand the best. So let’s demand it.

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