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Could Indianapolis' White River Riverfront Look Like This? Maybe, Someday

INDIANAPOLIS -- Changes could be on the horizon for Indianapolis’ White River riverfront.

A group of Indianapolis leaders along with the White River State Park Commission’s Executive Director visited Wilmington, North Carolina last week to get some ideas for what they could do to the riverfront here in Indy.

The riverfront in Wilmington is often considered one of the most beautiful in the country, and city leaders who visited there last week are hoping to bring back some ideas on how to improve the riverfront here in Indianapolis and create competition for that title.

The city is still in the very early stages of planning for the project, but the sudden interest in other areas is a sign that city leaders are ready to improve what could be one of Indianapolis’ biggest resources and attractions.

“In order for us to be more competitive and to enhance the fun and quality of life, we’ve got to activate that water,” said City-County Councilor Vop Osili.

During their trip, Osili said the group toured the Wilmington riverfront and got information about infrastructure and funding that they can apply to their plans to develop the portion of Indianapolis that runs along the White River.

"(The Wilmington) riverwalk, this linear park, is so attractive you just want to go there," said Osili.

The plans for Indianapolis would include retail, restaurants and residential builds, said Osili. All things that will help develop the land and create a positive experience for those who live here and those who visit.

Osili said the group also plans to visit and study riverfront designs in several other cities - including Des Moines, Iowa, and Columbus, Ohio – both cities that have overcome similar challenges to what Indianapolis faces with the White River like low dams and water quality.

“Our combined sewer overflow issues will have been addressed by 2025,” said Osili. “So we’ve got at least a seven to eight year horizon before we can do too much on that riverfront.”

 So will our riverfront look like this?

Maybe, eventually.

For now, city leaders will gather ideas from other successful riverfronts and work on the necessary improvements to keep the riverfront project alive.

“What’s the benchmark that we can look at? What are the lessons that they learned, what do we take from them that we can step up and occupy that number one spot?” said Osili. “In good time.”

(Photos by RTV6)

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