Monday, October 24, 2011

Monument Circle: Another Reason To Be Proud of Indianapolis

Indianapolis is in the midst of a fall cleaning as it prepares to host the 2012 Super Bowl.  Sidewalks are being smoothed.  Blank canvas walls are now adorned with murals honoring Kurt Vonnegut and others.   Miles of streets have new asphalt.  And the bronze Victory stature, after a major restoration, has been returned to its pedestal atop the Soldiers and Sailors Monument.  Indianapolis will shine when it hosts the Super Bowl.

However, Indianapolis shines everyday.  We have much to be proud of, including Monument Circle.  This year Monument Circle was named one of America's top ten Great Public Spaces by the American Planning Association.
The APA notes that "places are selected annually and represent the gold standard in terms of having a true sense of place, cultural and historical interest, community involvement, and a vision for tomorrow."
This is what they said about Monument Circle:
Since 1821 when Alexander Ralston laid out the state's capital in Indianapolis and located "Circle Street" in the middle of the mile square plat, Monument Circle has served as the literal and figurative center of Indianapolis. The Soldiers and Sailors Monument, designed by Bruno Schmitz of Germany in an international competition, rests at the center of the Circle. Other features include bronze statuary of three former Indiana governors and a general, a grand staircase, and two water pools. There also are striking views of the state capitol building and the city from atop a 231-foot-tall observation tower.

Monument Circle looks its absolute best when viewed from above. The two reflecting pools are Caribbean beach blue.  The curved building facades compress activity and heighten drama.  So the birds get the best view.  But settling for a walking tour is fine.  This is a public space you want to explore, its proportions are right.  Indianapolis can be proud.  And soon there will be a new Presbyterian (PCUSA) church aforming in the mile square.