Indianapolis Cultural Trail: A Legacy of Gene and Marilyn Glick
The Indianapolis Cultural Trail: A Legacy of Gene and Marilyn Glick is one of the most bold and beautiful expressions of the Glicks’ desire to impact their community. This eight-mile bike and pedestrian trail connecting Indianapolis’s six cultural districts and a multitude of restaurants, bars, public artworks, parks and museums has transformed the landscape of Indianapolis, both literally and figuratively.
Gene and Marilyn Glick were fascinated with the idea of a thoroughfare connecting some of Indy’s most popular neighborhoods. Fitness advocates well into their 80s, they liked the idea of a public recreational resource in the heart of the city. Yet, they realized the recreational aspects were just a small part of the Trail’s potential impact. The Trail was a great opportunity to encourage cultural exchange, expand community awareness and promote economic growth.
With a lead gift of $15 million, Gene and Marilyn helped move the Cultural Trail from a dream to a reality in Indianapolis.
“What’s so amazing is that the Glick family invested in the Trail before anything had even been built,” says Kären Haley, executive director of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, Inc. “They believed in the vision and what the Trail could mean to our city.”
The Trail has played a leading role in transforming downtown Indianapolis, enhancing quality of life, accessibility and the overall way people experience the city. The sight of vacant parking lots and abandoned buildings has been replaced with a world-class bike and pedestrian trail, free botanical gardens and $2 million in public art, including functional amenities like bus shelters and bike racks.
Equally important to the Glicks’ initial gift was Gene’s recommendationthat the maintenance endowment be established so the Trail could be enjoyed for generations to come.
Residents and visitors alike now use the Trail to make their waythrough the downtown. This greater connectivity has yielded strong economic development opportunities: the Indiana University Public Policy Institute found that property assessments within approximately one block of the eight mile Trail have increased 148 percent since 2008, an increase of $1 billion in assessed property value.
“Today, the Trail is a leading model for what to do in an urban area to enhance quality of life,” Haley says.
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INDIANAPOLIS CULTURAL TRAIL