Indianapolis is to repair residential streets with an emphasis on low-income areas

Indianapolis is to repair residential streets with an emphasis on low-income areas

Like countless streets around Indianapolis, Forest Manor Avenue has a patchwork of potholes of various sizes that are big, small, deep, shallow and just bumpy.

And like countless drivers in the city, passers-by can tactfully avoid some places, but have to survive the hard drive in others.

Now, residents of this quaint Eastside neighborhood will soon find relief: Indianapolis is using $ 25 million in reserve funds to permanently replace 60 miles of lanes on some of Marion County’s most damaged roads.

Efforts are focused on smaller residential streets – with an emphasis on low-income neighborhoods – that are not routinely maintained as busy major thoroughfares across the city.

Potholes can be seen on Forest Manor Avenue on Thursday, May 13, 2021.  A press conference on the next phase of Circle City Forward was held nearby.  $ 25 million is being invested in residential streets like this one.

“While the crews (public works department) did wonders when they approached one of the busiest streets in town on nearby 38th Street, residents living on such streets had to wait,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett in the announcement on Thursday along Forest Manor Avenue. “After all, now you can see improvements that may have been long needed, long overdue.”

The announcement is the latest in the city’s Circle City Forward initiative, which aims to improve crumbling urban infrastructure. The first phase of the initiative, announced in February, will use $ 190 million in property taxes on various facilities such as parks, the coroner’s office, and the animal shelter.

Assuming the city council passes the proposal next month – which it likely will – construction will begin in spring 2022.

While roads are being repaired in each of the 25 boroughs, the funding each borough receives is based in part on median household income. This reflects the Council’s recent commitment to analyzing where city funds are being spent and addressing inequalities in city services.

“The truth is this: Historically, streets in low-income neighborhoods have been neglected year after year,” said Hogsett. “Not this time.”

The city councils receive a list of the worst roads in their district based on an assessment of the road condition and make their prioritized roads available to the DPW. Streets in foreclosed cities that take care of their own streets, such as B. Lawrence, are not included.

Funding comes from rainy day reserves accumulated over the course of 2020 when the city’s non-public safety departments were instructed to reduce discretionary spending and put a freeze on hiring. At that time, Indianapolis and other cities were preparing for all sorts of budget constraints that resulted from the economic stalemate and pandemic.

However, since last spring, the federal government has taken steps to support cities across the country through the Cares Act and the more recent American Rescue Plan Act.

The streets identified as part of the $ 25 million project will be fully reconstructed.

“This does not fill any boreholes, it is a real reconstruction of these roads,” said DPW Director Dan Parker. “It’s not just going to be, ‘Let’s throw some asphalt on it and make it look good.'”

However, future maintenance of the new roads is something the city would need to discuss with the state general assembly, Parker noted, as the city receives its road funding from the state.

Ashley Gurvitz, CEO of the Alliance for Northeast Unification, said one of the city’s most deprived neighborhoods is finally feeling heard.

“When we get together for the first time, conversations may not be easy,” she said. “But I can only say this: We really are a city. Because now this initiative shows that we can be heard. We can all work together.”

Call IndyStar reporter Amelia Pak-Harvey at 317-444-6175 or email [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @AmeliaPakHarvey.