$1 million grant boosts expansion of Indianapolis Cultural Trail

The plan to extend two legs of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail has received a $1 million grant from the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation. Currently in design, the expansion of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail: A Legacy of Gene and Marilyn Glick includes two distinct segments: 

Indiana Avenue/10th Street: The Indiana Avenue expansion will connect directly to the Madam Walker Legacy Center on Indiana Avenue and continue north to 10th Street. It will then head east on 10th Street to the planned bridge leading to the 16 Tech Innovation District.  

South Street: The South Street expansion will bring the Indianapolis Cultural Trail from New Jersey Street to Capitol Avenue, improving access in a thriving stretch of Downtown that includes Lucas Oil Stadium, the Indiana Convention Center and a growing residential hub.  The new section will also create a beautiful connection between downtown and near Southside neighborhoods and the Stadium Village area.

The proposed expansion was first announced last February and featured in the March 2020 edition of Urban Times.

“The last year has highlighted the important role the Indianapolis Cultural Trail plays in promoting physical and mental well being by providing our community access to free, accessible and safe open space,” said Cultural Trail Executive Director Kären Haley. “This generous investment from the Lilly Foundation will allow even more people to take advantage of the Trail and will better connect our city’s thriving neighborhoods.”

Said Tiffany Benjamin, president of the Lilly Foundation, “The Indianapolis Cultural Trail is a true treasure for our community. Now more than ever, it’s proving key to sustaining the health and vitality of our residents and visitors – and will play an even greater role as we all work to recover socially, physically and economically from the pandemic. The Lilly Foundation is proud to be part of the public-private partnership that supports the trail and the extensive cultural, economic and community benefits it offers.” 

Expected to be completed in 2022, the expansion will add two miles of pathway to the iconic eight-mile Cultural Trail, which attracts more than a million users annually. Design for the expansion is currently underway and construction is estimated to start in late summer of this year. 

The project will cost an estimated $30 million. In addition to the $1 million from the Lilly Foundation, another $26 million has been committed. Indianapolis Cultural Trail Inc., the non-profit organization that is responsible for the Cultural Trail, is continuing to fundraise for the rest. 

ARTWORK ABOVE: One of the extensions will run from Capitol Avenue to New Jersey Street along South Street and the Irsay Family YMCA.

SECOND PHOTO: The planned Indiana Avenue extension of the Cultural Trail will run southeast from Blackford Street to the Madam Walker Legacy Center, and northwest to 10th Street.