Some business owners say downtown Indy is turning around

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Some downtown business owners said Downtown Indy Inc. and Mayor Joe Hogsett’s $750,000 investment into downtown is making a difference.

The initiative, aimed at downtown recovery, includes cleanup, added foot and bike patrols, and efforts to address homelessness and drug issues.

If you asked owner of Downtown Comics Doug Stephenson, the owner of Soupremacy Danielle Cooney, or owner of Giorgio’s Pizza George Stergiopoulos how they felt about the state of the city a few weeks ago, their answers would not have been so positive.

However, they now say there is a noticeable change downtown and they think the added safety measures have a lot to do with it.

“Don’t just be social media warriors and say ‘oh, how bad it is.’ We’re here. We know it’s getting better and it’s gotten better pretty quick,” Stergiopoulos said.

“When people see a uniform (police) presence, they’re going to think twice before they do some of the things that were being done just out in the open,” Stephenson said.

“Do I want it to happen quicker? Of course, we all do. I want our workforce back, but it is slowly but surely happening,” Cooney added.

According to Bob Schultz from Downtown Indy Inc., getting the workforce back downtown is a major piece of the puzzle the city is still working to fill. Schultz said only about 20% of the workforce, or 30,000 people, have returned to downtown workspaces.

While it is up to individual businesses or companies whether they return to their buildings, Schultz said, he is working on ways to make people feel more comfortable with the idea.

“That leaves about 120,000 people who aren’t in our downtown every day and that needs to slowly return in measured ways,” said Schultz.

You can read more about the city’s downtown recovery efforts here.