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Hudnut's Former Press Secretary Remembers The Hudnut Era

What happened in those 16 years had not happened before, says David Arland

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.--Former mayor Bill Hudnut is being remembered mostly as the man who helped bring the Baltimore Colts to Indy. But his former press secretary, David Arland, says he was focused on helping rebuild all of downtown, even to the point that he took a lot of criticism.

"I like to say, as others have said, from Indiana-no-place, to Indiana-show-place," said Arland, speaking of Hudnut Sunday afternoon. "We really benefited from a different approach to governing than had been done in the past."

The former pastor of Second Presbyterian Church on North Meridian also served in Congress before he was "swept home" during the Watergate era. He was elected in 1976 and took over from Dick Lugar.

Hudnut died of a heart condition, said Arland. He was given six months to live a year and a half ago, he said.

"Bill used to say that he didn't steal the Colts, Baltimore lost the Colts," said Arland, talking about how Indianapolis got its second big league sports franchise, the first being the Pacers. "Indianapolis had built this beautiful stadium. It had no team. But, it was connected to the Indiana Convention Center. And even if a professional team, be it baseball or football, never transpired, there was a role for that domed stadium."

He said when Bob Irsay visited and looked at the stadium, the seats were Colts blue.

"They were Colts blue, quite by accident, or perhaps by providence."

Another milestone in Hudnut's 16 years as mayor was bringing the Pan-American games to Indy. Arland said Hudnut's thinking was, what can we do here in Indy that other cities can't do?

"And there were so many things going on with sports that we thought, well, we could be an amateur sports capital. So, that was the ground work and brick-by-brick things got developed. The Pan-Am Games in 1987, was probably the capstone of that effort."

Arland said that during that time, much effort went into revitalization of downtown as a whole, not just with sports.

"People tend to forget that Circle Center Mall hasn't always been there. It was a big hole at one point, and before that just lots of vacant buildings."

He said that anone who enjoys the benefits of the 2016 downtown in the capital city has Hudnut to thank for it.

Statements on the passing of the former mayor came in throughout the day Sunday, and included this one from the Irsay family:

"Mayor Bill Hudnut was kind and generous and never knew a stranger. Bill never failed to stop and speak to anyone who stopped him while he was walking on the street, in the stands watching a Colts game or enjoying a cup of coffee anywhere in town. He sometimes seemed larger than life riding the snowplow during the blizzard of 1979 or strutting down the street as an overgrown leprechaun in the St. Patrick's Day Parade. For all Colts fans, he was instrumental in bringing the Colts to Indianapolis and I will always remember the smile on his face when he walked across the floor of the Hoosier Dome to announce the arrival of the Indianapolis Colts to this great city. We all offer his wife, Beverly, and the entire Hudnut family our comfort and support during this difficult time."

And this one from The Pacers:

Pacers Sports & Entertainment joins all the citizens of Indianapolis in mourning the passing of our beloved former mayor, William Hudnut.  It is impossible to overvalue the transformative impact "Mayor Bill" had on Indianapolis and Central Indiana during his four terms of City Hall leadership. Continuing the revitalization of Indianapolis begun by his predecessor Richard Lugar, Bill Hudnut enabled us to dare to dream big and believe all things were possible through cooperation and collaboration. One cannot imagine what Indy would be today without his vision. We extend our most heartfelt condolences to his wife Beverly and his entire family.

From Indy Chamber Pres. Michael Huber:

"As mayor of Indianapolis for 16 years, Bill Hudnut was decades ahead of his time. The man who said "you can't be a suburb of nothing" positioned Indy for explosive development in downtown and in our urban neighborhoods. He helped take Indy from "India-no-place" to a city that is consistently ranked in the top tier of U.S. cities for sports, culture and livability. Because of Mayor Hudnut, Indy now competes on a different plane, attracting and growing internationally successful companies, organizations and top talent."

From One America:

"Former Indianapolis Mayor William Hudnut will be missed, but not forgotten. In many ways, our community today -- including OneAmerica Tower, constructed in 1982 with his support and encouragement -- is a legacy to his bold vision." - Scott Davison, President and CEO, OneAmerica

From former governor and Purdue Pres. Mitch Daniels:

"Bill Hudnut was a big man in all the ways that count most. Big heart, big dreams, and a wingspan big enough to wrap around any citizen who wanted to help him make Indianapolis a greater place. He enriched my life in countless ways, and I will miss him always."

From Gov. and Vie-Pres.-Elect Mike Pence:

“Karen and I were deeply saddened to hear of the passing of our friend and former Indianapolis Mayor Bill Hudnut,” said Governor Mike Pence. “Bill Hudnut was a one-of-a-kind leader whose faith, leadership and boundless enthusiasm inspired all of us who knew him. We send our love and prayers out to Beverly, his family, friends and all who mourn this uniquely gifted man. God bless you, Mayor. Your leadership and love for Indianapolis transformed our capitol city and will never be forgotten.”

And from City-County Council Pres. Maggie Lewis:

“Today, we lost an individual who many call the architect of our great city, Mayor William “Bill” Hudnut. 
Mayor Hudnut was a visionary leader whose contributions forever changed the lives of families throughout our city.  Committed to elevating the profile of Indianapolis, our community continues to stand on the shoulders of his many contributions and has been the beneficiary of his passion and commitment.
Ecclesiastes 7:1 says, “a good name is better than fine perfume and the day of death, better than the day of birth”.  Rest well Mayor Hudnut for you have earned it. I encourage our entire community to join me in keeping the entire Hudnut family in your thoughts and prayers.”

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