Earlier this month, NPR’s Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! featured Indianapolis in its Bluff the Listener segment. The segment’s conceit features panelists deadpanning their way through three implausible news stories, only one of which is true—and it’s up to the listener to separate fact from fiction.
The show’s producers take obvious pleasure in finding stories that are surprising, offbeat, or unlikely. So when they heard about The Idle: A Point of View, it’s not hard to imagine their joy at learning about Tom Battista’s plan to build a pedestrian overlook between I-65 and I-70.
The idea’s a little out there. It’s a little crazy. And we think it’s completely delightful.
Partly that’s because of the involvement of our own Amy McAdams-Gonzales. Amy designed the logo, helped come up with the name, and created illustrations for the promotional materials.
But our affection for the idea goes beyond professional partiality.
See, the national interstate system is a bit notorious for dividing neighborhoods. Fountain Square and the surrounding neighborhoods were especially hard hit, as interstate construction compounded an economic decline already in swing during the 1960s.
Since then, a lot of good organizations have done a lot of great work to change that for the southeast side of Indianapolis. We’ve been a proud supporter of groups like Southeast Neighborhood Development, SENSE Charter School, Big Car, and the Central Indiana Community Foundation, to name just a few.
In every case, the ideas making a difference might seem a little crazy at first:
- An art event that gives painters, sculptors, writers, and others one day to create a masterpiece
- A former industrial space converted into a community-driven school that nurtures academic excellence, social development, and civic responsibility
- A pedestrian and bike trail that would unite the city’s cultural districts (and make crossing the interstate a whole lot easier from Fountain Square)
And, of course, there’s Tonic Ball, which started as a little music show for a good cause—and which is now prepping for its 16th year of sold-out performances taking place across five venues. That was a crazy idea, too.
So scoff at Battista’s idea if you must, and perhaps raise an eyebrow or two. Some of us certainly did. But then think about what makes Indianapolis a great place to live. Think about what makes our neighborhoods and communities unique. And think about the places that bring us together—the spaces we can pause, sit, and spare a moment to be idle.
Donations to The Idle will be matched up to $41,000 by the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority. Contribute today, or learn more about the project by watching the video below.