Civil Discourse Now

Where the far left and far right overlap for fun and enlightenment

Crime downtown & construction w/o urban planning

“If you build it, he will come,” a voice told Kevin Costner’s character, Ray Kinsella, in “Field of Dreams.” Kinsella nearly goes bankrupt as he mows down corn to build a baseball field. We see a similar phenomenon here in Indianapolis. A lot of buildings are going up. 1/7

If someone has $, contractors will build. In Indy the $ is from Tax Increment Financing Districts or “TIFs.” TIFs were a funding mechanism created in California in the 1950s to build things in urban wastelands where the “free market” took a pass. 2/7

Downtown crime in Indy is up (& I don’t mean the annual panhandling at 200 W Washington Street that is the Indiana General Assembly). In 1986 I lived in the dorm (yes, there was a dorm) on IUPUI’s during first year of law school. I was surprised by downtown Indy. 3/7

I’d lived in Chicago for a couple of years, where the downtown was vibrant. Part of the reason Indy was dead, except nights when the Pacers had a game, was the lack of housing. Not many people lived downtown. Development had occurred in other parts of the City. 4/7

Then TIF $ went downtown. Buildings went up. The once fetid & stagnant canal was dredged & transformed. A lot of (high-priced) places to live are downtown, but jobs aren’t there to match. An example is City/County Building, its jobs now moved from downtown. 5/7

A person who says “urban planning” is met w/shouts of "socialism"! However, the ad hoc building we have, fueled by TIF $, is not “free market.” Crime, on the rise downtown, will not lessen with more TIF $ dumped mindlessly into more buildings (that in 10 yrs will be gone or sec 8). 6/7

We need to (1) end TIFs & (2) mandate long-range urban planning. “Field of Dreams” ended w/ ghosts of baseball legends saving the day. That won’t happen here. I’m Mark Small, pro-choice, pro-environment GOP candidate for Indiana’s 86th. I approve of this blog. Hell, I wrote it. 7/7

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