Speedway sets pace for bright futureSRC Member
May 21, 2012
May 19, 2012
As home of the Indianapolis 500, the town of Speedway knows all about fast starts, sustained speed and hard charges to the finish line. But the extreme makeover now under way in the Westside community is taking a different approach — a slow but steady drive toward pumping fresh energy into Main Street and other areas near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The first part of the project, rebuilding Main between 10th and 16th streets, is now complete. The six-block streetscape features eye-catching new sidewalks, landscaping, parking and lighting. Along Main, Italian automaker Dallara has opened an attractive design and assembly plant for chassis used in the new generation of Indy race cars. Community Westview Health Network has broken ground on a 40,000-square-foot health-care center on one side of the Dallara building. And on the other side, Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing plans to start work this summer on a new team headquarters.
But the town has an even grander vision for the area, including a $500 million redevelopment plan for 350 acres near the track that someday may feature racing-oriented entertainment and businesses.
Can the town pull it off? It will be tough in the near future given the still-languishing economy, but the willingness of community leaders to think beyond the ordinary and to at least attempt to build a bridge between the town’s storied history and its economic future is commendable.
Speedway already boasts of two significant strengths — one of the better school systems in Marion County and attractive, affordable family-oriented neighborhoods. Much of the area around the track, however, had long been neglected — a fact that gave infrequent visitors, who flocked to the area only in May, a false impression of the town’s overall vitality.
The Main Street makeover and other economic redevelopment in the area should help bolster Speedway’s image. More important, it’s a start toward creating jobs, strengthening the tax base and increasing land values.
There’s still a long way to go, but Speedway certainly appears to be on the right track.