The Indianapolis Cultural Trail: A Legacy of Gene and Marilyn Glick, an eight-mile multiuse pathway winding through downtown Indianapolis, connects six neighborhoods designated as significant cultural districts.

Indianapolis Cultural Trail, ca. 2010s
Credit: Banayote Photo Inc., Indiana Historical Society

In 1999, Cultural Development Commissions were charged with finding ways to promote six downtown Indianapolis neighborhoods newly designated as cultural districts. Brian Payne, a commissioner and president of the Central Indiana Community Foundation envisioned connecting Mass Ave, Fountain Square, the Canal And White River State Park, Indiana Avenue, the Wholesale District, and Market East with an urban version of the Monon Trail. His vision kick-started what culminated in a $63 million project funded through local philanthropies, notably a $15 million pledge from Gene and Marilyn Glick, and a $20.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Kevin Osburn and his team at Rundell Ernstberger Associates designed the public right-of-way that forms the Trail, which was completed in 2012. The nonprofit Indianapolis Cultural Trail, Inc. manages it, develops programming, and maintains the gardens and public art found along its length.

In 2014, the Indiana Pacers Bike Share program was initiated to provide a means for navigating the Trail. An expansion in 2019 doubled the number of bikes and stations to 575 and 50, respectively. Four distinct Indy Cultural Food Tours are part of the programming that offers walking and cycling tours along the Trail. Experienced guides take patrons on a culinary excursion along the Trail while learning how the Trail has transformed Indianapolis. Over 1 million people use the trail annually.

In February 2020, the first expansion to the Trail was announced. The expansion aims to add two miles of trail to two key areas, Indiana Avenue and South Street from New Jersey Street to Capitol Avenue. The expansions will bring historically and culturally significant neighborhoods and destinations that have been disconnected from downtown into closer proximity to the city center.

Indianapolis Cultural Trail near Indianapolis Zoo, ca. 2010s
Credit: Banayote Photo Inc., Indiana Historical Society
Revised March 2021

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