NEXT CITY: The game's moved on, but the Indy Super Bowl remains a "legacy" of positive impact

Less famous than its commercials is the NFL’s annual tradition of awarding $1 million grants to the city that hosts the league’s most-watched game. Lately, the NFL is opting to work with cities that have a plan to leverage the money for a project that will have a larger impact. And increasingly, the investments are being targeted for neighborhoods in need. Bill Taft, executive director of Indianapolis LISC spearheaded this effort for the 2012 Super Bowl in Indianapolis. “The whole idea of the legacy initiative … was to have something that was actually tangibly and significantly beneficial to the city long after the Super Bowl was here,” says Taft.

For Host Cities, the Super Bowl as a Carrot

11 Feb 2013 - Andrew Zaleski, NextCity


Ann Marie Hanlon has lived in the Holy Cross neighborhood of the Near Eastside section of Indianapolis for close to 35 years. She still remembers the day bulldozers ripped homes from the earth at the corner of New York Street and Highland Avenue to make way for a new business.

For years, the roughly 20 neighborhoods comprising the Near Eastside have been buffeted by poverty, rising crime rates and numerous home foreclosures, a function of the shuttering of two manufacturing plants in the 1980s. The area’s foreclosure rate led the U.S. in 2004.

But today, when Hanlon looks along one strip of roadway running south from New York Street to Marlowe Avenue, she sees preparations being made for the construction of 16 new houses. Parents stroll with baby carriages to Highland Park. Young couples, new residents, shop at Pogue’s Run Grocer, a sorely needed and brand new grocery store.

“My heart skips a beat when I think about it,” she says.

Near Eastside has indeed had a productive few years. Over the last half-decade, investments totaling more than $150 million have helped erect new retail businesses, affordable housing, greenery projects, a community health center and the area’s only recreation center. It’s the result of two factors: A 2007 quality of life plan that outlined 150 specific objectives to improve this section of the city, and $1 million from the National Football League, a happy side effect of the successful bid Indianapolis placed in 2008 to host the 2012 Super Bowl. Continued[+]...

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Article Type: News