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The Indianapolis News from Indianapolis, Indiana • 6

Indianapolis, Indiana
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Thursday. August 8. 1985 Pag 6 THE INDIANAPOLIS NEWS MILITARY PARK Improvement pro-grom is on hold. EITELJORG MUSEUM Collection of American Western and Indian art to be housed in privately funded museum to be started in 1986 and completed in 1987. NEW INDIANA STATE MUSEUM -Relocation of state museum now being planned.

Director hopes to open in 1989 or 1990. a I Vti-jt -Ji IUPUI II i 1 IU JO I MILITARY I TRACK NATATORfUM tAW SCHOOL LI-V I -Y stadium 2 si I-'. 1 GARDEN IVANS I SSx ZZlz INDIANAPOLIS ZOO Ji Ji-J C0MPLEXJ STATf Groundbreaking Spt. 8, opening 11 "--i. HOUSE RIVERWALK To be built by J' 'A.

HOWARD WESTIN I state white zoo is being built. INDIANAPOLIS A "ST ZOO SERVICE AREA Environ- TOO YJSrJ AHls? 1 1 mental concerns may prompt paric --TV. V. 1 nv it-" CONVENTION CENTER HOOSIER DOME uv OLD WASHINGTON STREET BRIDGE Pedestrian link across river will be extension of Family Entertainment Center. Needs developer.

INDIANA TOWER Controversial 750-foot tower, perhaps city's tallest building, may be developed privately with Family Entertainment Center. Needs developer. FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT CENTER Park's top priority is to find developer(s) for specialty eating and shopping area and amusement pork. CELEBRATION PLAZA and WINTER GARDEN Plaza and Winter Garden, a display of state's role in agriculture, medical and pharmaceutical research and nutrition, will likely be developed by state and private sources in conjunction with Family Entertain-, ment Center. 1 Despite delays and problems, park plans go on water.

It said the river may be most suitable only for boating and fishing. Swimming and wading would need other provisions, the plan said. Mayor, William Hudnut said the cost of replacing the" sewers which flood into the river during storms would be prohibitive. "It's obviously a concern," he said. "It's not as clean as we want it to be." Aesthetic controversy has surrounded plans for the Indiana Tower, which would be the tallest structure in the city, unless American Fletcher proposed downtown office tower is taller.

People divide into three camps on the tower. Some say it's fine as planned to give Indianapolis a symbol like St Louis' Gateway Arch or Paris' Eiffel Tower. Some don't want a tower. Some say a tower is needed but with a different design. And the park itself has stronger critics than the tower's.

Tim W. Maher, assistant professor of sociology at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis, said the park was planned to satisfy one of the oldest dreams of the city's major corporation, Eli Lilly 4 Co. He said Lilly has long worked to make Indianapolis a city that will attract new executives for the company- "This is Lilly's park said Maher, who co-authored a 1979 report that criticized downtown development patterns, including White, River State Park. The idea for White River Park originated in 1978 at Lilly Endowment the large Lilly-family foundation which has given money for many downtown develop- ments. The park has since become the endowment's single largest investment $25 million to the zoo, $5 million to an early planning effort for the park and more money expected to help build the Eiteljorg museum.

At neighborhoods' expense Maher also said the park a case of downtown benefiting at the expense of neighborhoods. "They show a pattern of taking assets out of the neighborhoods and moving them downtown to make it 'i look like the downtown is booming," Maher said. He cited the zoo's move downtown from the Eastside. Another critic, state Rep. Ray Richardson, R- Greenfield, said he isn't sure "it will be a park worth all the money that will be put into it "Central Indiana desperately needs a state park," Richardson said.

"But not like the kind of park they're thinking of more like our other parks." Some of the original park plans already have been altered partly because alternatives have developed faster than the park. Plans fori a1 performing arts center were scrapped because it was designed for tfie Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and the opening of the Circle Theater canceled; that need. (The museums will occu- py space originally intended for the performing arts center.) An open-air! amphitheater was cut because the nearby Indianapolis Sports Center now functions dur- ing the summer 4s an outdoor concert hall. Land east of the river and south of the new Washington Street may be devoted to the family entertainment center, if parking can be concentrated on a small tract using a parking garage, the entire tract had been set aside for parking. yv See PARK Page 7 Another encouraging sign: The zoo is now a sure thing at White River Park.

But it will be late: Private fund-raising for the new zoo was completed last winter. Groundbreaking is scheduled for Sept 8. However, the completion is set for for spring 1988 two years behind the original schedule. Roy A. Shea, zoo director, said he had to delay the opening because of the time needed to construct "The Waters" building, which will highlight marine life.

The Waters will take 22 months to build, the longest and most complicated project in the zoo. But it is to sit where Metro's offices are now, and' thus work cannot begin on it until Metro moves in December or January into its new facility at Washington and Harding streets. The zoo will build half of the master plan it has laid out for its 75-acre site, instead of the original goal to build 65 percent of the master plan, Shea said. Shea said an exhibit for desert; animals also won't be built by 1988 because zoo costs escalated as funds were being raised. The desert exhibit is likely to be the first addition to the zoo after it opens.

An aquarium, with whale and dolphin performances, is likely to be built within the five years after opening, he said. Riverwalk, art museum Other signs of progress: A $1.3 million state-funded riverwalk, stretching for half a mile between the west bank of the river and the zoo, will be built at the same time as the zoo. Art collector Harrison Eiteljorg and other" sources, including Lilly Endowment are contrib- uting $9 million for a museum to house Eiteljorg's collection of American Western and Indian art Also, the Indiana State Museum plans to move to the park. Both museums will be west of the state office complex. The park has acquired all but 30 acres that it set out to control.

Of the land remaining, 11 acres will be acquired after the Metro bus system moves to a new facility, and eight acres will be the subject of talks to begin soon with three property owners. Plans to acquire the balance another 11 acres for a future zoo service area may be dropped. The park is estimated eventually to cost $200 million, with 70 percent invested privately and 30 percent by government. So far, Weedman said, the percentage has held roughly true, with $21.5 million invested by the state and $53 million invested privately more than half donated by Lilly Endowment Gov. Robert Orr said these signs of progress are good indications of the park's future.

"In another five years, people of this state are going to be so excited about White River State Park, and what it is, and what fun people can have going there," he said. "It is going to be something (for) which every state in the country will admire Indiana, because we have it" However, that admiration may be a long way off. Even without considering the problem of finding a developer for the family entertainment center, there are several stumbling blocks in the park's develop- ment. There is concern over the poor quality of water running in White River through the park. Even in 1981, the master plan acknowledged the presence of sewage and agricultural pollutants in the a consultant to define the idea for the family entertainment center.

He said it may take as long as two years to find a developer, and that it may be 1990 before the center opens. Nonetheless, he said, three or four firms specializing in such centers have made inquiries. He said Simon is unlikely to undertake the project "It's not really our field," because of the Simon's focus on shopping centers, Conrad said. Downtown, Simon is developing Circle Centre, a shopping and office complex that will be a principal neighbor to White River State Park. Why is a developer hard to find? Ira West, a California-based architect for theme parks and other family entertainment areas, said developers may be wary of White River State Park because it doesn't fit the typical theme-park mold.

He said the park proposes something unique in the combination of a small urban amusement complex with specialty restaurants and shops may be slow to grow on developers, Although the entertainment industry is open to alternatives to big theme parks, the specific combination at White River State Park hasn't been tried, West said. West a vice president of R. Duell and Associates of Santa Monica, worked briefly on the plans for White River State Park. He said Six Flags Corp. of Chicago is the best bet to undertake the project Six Flags, developer-operator of theme parks like Six Flags Great America near Chicago, Six Flags Over Georgia near Atlanta and Six Flags Over Mid-America near St.

Louis, is now experimenting with new kinds of family entertainment, West said. Larry B. Cochran, executive vice president of Six Flags, said the firm has tried alternatives to theme parks. It has developed water-based amusement parks in Houston and in Hollywood, Fla. It has just opened "Six Flags Power Plant" an indoor entertainment park in Baltimore.

Another indoor project is located in Flint, and a third is under development aboard a ship in St. Louis. Afo interest at this time But Cochran said, "We have no interest at this time on the project" at White River State Park. Cochran said he read about the park in an airline magazine article last year. But he knew of no contact between Six Flags and the White River Park Development Commission.

But there is one developer that may be interested: Disney. The Disney organization, developer of Disneyland in Anaheim, Walt Disney World outside Orlando, and Toy ko Disneyland in Japan, has looked at Indianapolis. Patrick R. Scanlon, vice president for business and marketing development at WED Enterprises, the marketing and development for Walt Disney Productions, said he visited Indianapolis in mid-1983. He acknowledged that Disney is now most interested in developing a European theme park.

But he said that in a year or two after the European project is under way Disney may decide to develop what it calls "Disney Entertainment Centers." "We see it as kind of being a community celebration center, a festival center that identifies with" a community, that people will want to return to over and over again," Scanlon said. The centers would blend entertainment and atmosphere, with emphasis on live entertainment and attractions that are easily changed. He said sites in several cities probably will be developed at once, or within a short period of time. Disney has not begun an analysis of potential sites, Scanlon said. But he said Indianapolis impressed him in 1983.

White River State Park will "absolutely" be a place to consider, he said. "Indianapolis has a very high energy and public support for many of the activities that have been undertaken in the last seven years or so," Scanlon said. "So that would be very encouraging to us as we went in to look at Indianapolis. "But we'd still have to go in and look at the cold hard facts" to consider marketing, attendance projections and demographics. Weedman said there are solid signs that the park really will be developed signs a developer will be able to read.

One of the strongest signs, he said, is the new Washington Street Its relocation is key because it means that Washington, a major thoroughfare, won't bisect the park site. By DOUGLASS T. DAVIDOFF The- Indianapolis News Sidney H. Weedman and a guest stepped out of Weedman's station wagon, climbed a short hill to the I new Washington Street bridge over the White River, and took a look at downtown Indianapolis. It was a sunny afternoon.

The bridge offered a -new and impressive angle for viewing the skyline. The Statehouse and the Hoosier Dome could be sseen easily. Behind them, downtown's office towers, hotels and the Soldiers and Sailors Monument formed 'a backdrop. But dominating the foreground was a 35-acre sea -6f clay. The clay sea is the greatest challenge yet to its owner, the White River State Park.

Weedman is executive director of the Indiana White River Park Development Commission. The empty land, on both sides of the approaches to the new bridge from downtown, is the site where a entertainment center is planned. The land is a symbol of the park's slow going. The park purchased the land with state funds, moved the once-existing businesses away and demolished their buildings. But the barren land awaits a family entertainment developer.

Although plans for the park have been around since 1978, and a master plan was published in 1981, no developer has signed up to build the entertainment 'center. Lt. Gov. John Mutz said he hoped a developer would have been found by now. I "That's the one thing we havent got yet," he said.

"That's the only thing that hasn't happened the way I 1 had hoped it would happen. Other than that, we are very much on schedule." As an Indianapolis state senator in 1979, Mutz was one of four original legislative sponsors of the park. The center is to be a unique combination of amusement rides, water attractions, shops and restaurants placed in a fantasy setting beside the river. Weedman is eager for the center to be developed and serve as the principal tourist draw for the park. The dynamics of the family entertainment cen- ter" will "really drive the rest of the park," said '-William J.

Watt of Indianapolis, who chairs the park development commission. The snail's pace of development admittedly is frustrating to some officials, but they insist it was anticipated and shouldn't be taken as a bad sip. The master plan, finished in 1981, predicted that about a decade would pass before the park would be completed. Envisioned to cover a total of 265 acres, the park is a. complex project Besides the entertainment center, it is to feature a new Indianapolis Zoo, a cultural center, displays, verdant landscaping, exciting vistas, parking and a landmark Indiana Tower, visible for miles.

Overriding importance But the master plan emphasized the overriding importance of the family entertainment center. "Indiana Landing," would attract about 3.5 million visitors a year. That's more than twice the 1.2 million visitors the zoo was projected to have annually, and more visitors than any other area of the park. In all, turnstiles into each of the park's attractions would turn 7.5 million times a year, the master plan projected. (Because many people will visit two or more areas on a trip to the park, total attendence at the park would work out to 3 million to 3.5 million annually.) I Meanwhile, the entertainment center is expected to provide more jobs than any other section of the park.

Weedman estimated the center might generate 300 jobs. If development of Indiana Tower is included, the total would be the largest infusion of private develop-; ment capital in the $200 million cdmplex. Just as the entertainment center is seen as the principal tourist draw of the park, the entire park is envisioned as a principal tourist draw to Indianapolis. And tourism is a major goal for downtown develop- rrient The park's role in boosting general tourism in downtown was spelled out in the city's plan for downtown development, published in 1981. The city said it wanted to boost annual downtown visitors from 2.7 million to 7.5 million annually by 1990.

Despite this starring role for the family entertain-tment center, park officials concede they are not "engaged in serious negotiations with any developer, In January, a local development company, Melvin Simon Associates, agreed to help search for a Tdeveloper. Larry A. Conrad, vice president for corporate Affairs at Simon, said the firm has been working with Zoo would welcome panda broached last month by Mayor Edward I. Koch of New York City." According to Hudnut who spoke with Koch during a meeting in New York, Koch is looking for a panda to inhabit one of New York's zoos He offered to put in a word for Indianapolis if New York had any success in its own attempt Shea said that if, the zoo received a panda it would be displayed in the "forest biome," an area of the zoo that will be reserved for forest animals But the panda would get its own display space That's for two reasons, Shea said. One, pandas are precious animals and the zoo would not want to see it hurt by another animal.

And, two, pandas are solitary animals even in their natural state. And the panda would likely increase the visitor count at the zoo, playing into the city's goal of using White River Park to increase tourism Th Indianapolis Newf What could be better for tourism than a panda exhibit at the new Indianapolis Zoo at White River State Park? The director of the zoo, Roy A. Shea, was surprised and delighted with Mayor Hudnut's recent suggestion that the city campaign to obtain a giant panda from China for the zoo. There are only two of the rare creatures in the United States, both at the National Zoo in Washington. 6 Hsing Hsing and Ling Ling, weighing better than 200 pounds each, were gifts of the Chinese government to the U.

S. in 1972. (The San Diego Zoo has a pair of "lesser pandas," but they are smaller animals, looking like red andvblack racoons, and do not look like the "giant pandas" in Washington.) The idea for a giant panda in Indianapolis was 1 1 6.

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