Midway throughcivic leaders concluded that the Indianapolis government had not kept pace with wartime industrial and population changes, resulting in a lack of badly needed public improvements and expanded services. In response, Mayor in 1943 appointed a 150-member citizens’ committee to recommend the city’s postwar agenda. George Kuhn, former president, was appointed chairman of the committee.
Organized into subcommittees, the members spent a year studying individual problems. At a formal dinner hosted by department store owners Meier, Rudolph, and Edward Block, the committee presented its plan calling for $25 million in expenditures (around $374 million in 2020) over seven years to improve sewers, schools, recreation, government, and transportation systems. Also addressed were slum clearance and redevelopment,, railroad grade separations, property reassessment, and a new municipal building.
Having presented its plan, the committee disbanded, leaving City Hall to work out the details. The following year, a newly created Indianapolis Redevelopment Commission and the City Planning Commission were given the task of implementing the recommendations. Little of the plan was executed immediately.
Five years later, the city had just begun work on a $2 million sewer program, passed a new parking law, and bought 178 acres for slum clearance. Critics argued that the grandiose plan did not address immediate postwar needs and merely restated previous unfulfilled plans. The committee’s recommendations did, however, guide local planning until a similar citizens committee, the, was formed in the mid-1960s.