- Associated Press - Sunday, September 27, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The downtown Indianapolis street that was transformed into the Super Bowl Village for the 2012 game is starting to see greater use for festivals and other events as was touted when it underwent a $12.5 million overhaul.

The three-block stretch of Georgia Street between the Indiana Convention Center and Banker’s Life Fieldhouse was rebuilt as a more pedestrian friendly zone but often stayed quiet in the Super Bowl’s wake.

That’s been changing as the promotional group Downtown Indy, which manages the venue, counted 57 Georgia Street events during 2013, then 114 last year and 84 events through August of this year. Attendance at those events as grown from about 143,000 in 2013 to nearly 215,000 for the first eight months of 2015, The Indianapolis Business Journal reported (https://bit.ly/1iP4OpC).

Bob Schultz, senior vice president of marketing for Downtown Indy, said he believed the street has become more successful than many people thought.

“I think, originally, people thought there’d be these kinds of Super Bowl-esque experiences year-round,” Schultz said. “Well, that’s unrealistic. What’s become more realistic is to develop individual block experiences.”

The Central Indiana Labor Council used the street’s three-block length on Sept. 5 for its fourth annual Labor Fest, a free event featuring live music, food and a kids’ zone.

“We love using it,” Indiana AFL-CIO President Brett Voorhies said. “Our members built it, and we think there should be a lot more events going on here. It gives Indianapolis a name.”

Many events held along Georgia Street are connected to events at the Indiana Convention Center, with organizers filling sections with food trucks or music performers. Other uses include Indianapolis Colts tailgate parties, Food Truck Fridays and Workout Wednesdays.

Chris Gahl, vice president of Visit Indy tourism organization, said the street can be a valuable selling point with convention planners.

“It’s extremely unique to have the front door of your convention center step onto an outdoor space that can be closed to vehicular traffic and has built-in sound, built-in lights and staging,” Gahl said.

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Information from: Indianapolis Business Journal, https://www.ibj.com


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