National experts impressed by Speedway plan

National experts impressed by Speedway plan

“˜There is a lot of pride there,’ said consultant who toured town
By Josh Duke
The Indianapolis Star
October 4, 2008

A panel of national experts in planning and land use has endorsed a plan to reinvigorate Speedway.

The Urban Land Institute released a 33-page report Friday lauding the town’s $500 million redevelopment project to bolster 350 acres south of the track. The report also recommended local officials encourage statewide support, saying it’s an attraction that could benefit all Hoosiers.

“The report inspires and challenges us to continue to move forward,” said Scott Harris, executive director of the redevelopment. “They validated the direction we are going, which is a comfortable feeling.”

Mansur Real Estate, the lead developer on the town’s redevelopment project, suggested inviting the Urban Land Institute to evaluate the project.

The six-member panel visited Speedway for three days in May. They reviewed the project, met with local leaders and toured the area.

“There is a tremendous opportunity for this community if they can continue to work together,” said Joe Davis, a panelist from Silver Spring, Md., who runs a planning and consulting firm. “I had never been to Speedway before, but I quickly realized in touring the town that there is a lot of pride there.”

The panel recommended no significant changes to the town’s plan, which became public in June 2007. The plan calls for shifting major streets, bringing in more retail and industry, and creating a racing-related theme to draw tourists.

The panelists did recommend creating unique concepts to draw tourists to the area such as a new racing museum and track experience,  a tall tower ride to get a bird’s eye view of the track, race car driving simulators and even a driving school for racers and fans.

“They couldn’t believe we had this sporting icon with an area around it that they thought were lost opportunities,” Harris said.

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