Make your home page

Lilly grants $28M to Bicentennial Unity Plaza at Gainbridge Fieldhouse

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — On Friday afternoon, crews continue to hammer away at the construction site just north of Gainbrigde Fieldhouse, and members of the Capital Improvement Board of Managers of Marion County shared their plans to turn the site into a vibrant and interactive space.

“It’s going to be gorgeous. It is going to be one of those things when you see it you think of Indianapolis,” said Andy Mallon, the board’s director.

Completion of the Bicentennial Unity Plaza is set for early 2023. The Capital Improvement Board on Friday announced a $28.47 million grant from Lilly Endowment will cover much of the cost.

Mallon told News 8 that money would pay for buildings, restrooms, sculpture installations, artwork and more. “We’re able to take it to a new level and make it a community-oriented celebration of Indianapolis history and diversity and how those two come together. We are proud of the artwork that has been put together for this. The programing will be nonstop and amazing 12 months out of the year.”

The Capital Improvement Board also submitted designs for the project’s layout to the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission. Renderings show the plaza will be home to a community basketball court that will be converted to a seasonal ice rink with a canopy covering.

“I think the skating rink in the wintertime will be the biggest attraction, and it will be very attractive. There isn’t a space like this in Indianapolis,” Mallon said.

The board’s director says he hopes the finished product will give visitors and families something new to look forward to downtown. “It’s an attraction that will bring visitors to the town and a place for all residents of central Indiana to coexist together.”

Pacers Sports and Entertainment will manage the site and manage community events, programs and cultural arts activities once the plaza is complete.