Bill Taft

Bill
Taft

Taft is a community developer.

Full Biography

Taft is a community developer.

Full Biography

April 29, 2014 3:07 PM

The Justice Center and Property Values

Public discussion about constructing a criminal justice center on the northwest corner of the GM site seems to be growing more positive but it also has raised two outstanding questions.  The first question is whether the project will raise or lower surrounding property values, and the second is whether constructing this complex will ruin the chance for developing positive uses on the eastern half of the site overlooking the White River. Before attempting to answer these questions lets…

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March 26, 2014 1:08 PM

Cummins Tilts Downtown Development Eastward

Today’s announcement that Cummins Inc. will invest over $30 Million to build a new office building on the south half of the Market Square Arena site is weighty enough to declare the east side of Downtown as “BACK!”.  Historically, the East side of Downtown boasted more impressive businesses and residential areas than the industrial areas and flood-prone areas on its west side.  In recent decades however, the eastern half of Downtown has languished in the shadow of the steady reinvestment west…

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March 14, 2014 1:18 PM

Criminal Justice Center Should be Near Downtown

The market study that recommended relocating the the Marion County criminal justice complex to the airport property seems to be generating a lot of opposition, and I think this is a good thing for two reasons. The first reason is that most citizens who need to access the courts are low income people who live somewhat near downtown and would find it difficult to reach the airport. Until the day comes that we have a strong…

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February 2, 2014 7:30 AM

Scrap The Weird Liquor Laws of Indiana

Something about being cooped-up in my house this winter has turned by thoughts to Indiana’s bizarre regulation of alcohol.  The Indiana legislature is again considering modifications to how liquor distribution occurs, as well as a bill to allow beer and wine sales at the State Fair.  From what I can tell, this annual legislative dance around the impossibly arcane state liquor laws has become an activity that really only benefits the lobbyists. I wonder whether…

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January 14, 2014 1:51 PM

Poverty is Growing Indy Burden

Amos Brown’s recent column in the Recorder did a discouragingly-clear job of lifting up the dire statistics measuring the growing poverty of many Indy residents.  Just under 200,000 of the city’s residents now live in poverty, enough people to become Indiana’s third largest city.  One-third of Indy’s children live in poverty, with 51% of kids in the IPS district living in very poor households.  Poor families are most intensely concentrated in Center township, but their numbers are…

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January 7, 2014 3:25 PM 3 Comments

What Indy Really Needs is a Sledding Hill!

Given the weather, its time that I admitted a parenting eccentricity.  Ever since Butler Hill was sadly reduced in size, I have been allowing my kids to sled on the interstate (but not near the actual roadway).  We live about a mile from the I-65/70 downtown split, and the giant mounds constructed to raise these roads above downtown streets are the closest steep hills to our home.  My kids are now in their late teens and…

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January 2, 2014 10:28 AM 1 Comment

Convert Schools from Learning Factories to Neighborhood Opportunities

I have always been confused by the longstanding practice of giving all Indianapolis Public Schools both a number and a name.  While this problem seems trivial, the practice of numbering schools is indicative of an old intellectual & administrative framework for urban public education that viewed each school building as merely one cog in a much larger machine for learning. This industrial-scale educational model evolved in the early 20th century, and de-emphasized the unique challenges of educating children from…

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November 24, 2013 8:31 PM 2 Comments

Panhandling Ordinance Makes Sense to Neighbors

The proposed strengthening of panhandling laws for downtown Indianapolis has generated the latest version of a long-running debate between civic leaders who seek to limit the negative impression visitors form when approached by frequent panhandlers, and those who are much more concerned about protecting constitutional free speech than offending conventioneers. For those of us who live and work downtown this debate has much more personal implications.  Downtown is our home, and not some anonymous place…

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November 11, 2013 7:46 PM

Recycleforce Heroes

The tragic death of a worker at Recycleforce this morning is a reminder of the dangers of industrial work but I hope it will not dampen support for this vital organization. Recycleforce is a social enterprise that puts formerly-incarcerated people to work in recycling when no one else will give them a chance.  Their circles of workers at various stages of experience support each other in mastering both work skills and facing into the daily…

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November 3, 2013 5:37 AM

Historic Preservation Becoming Economic Urbanism?

Indianapolis hosted the largest historic preservation conference in the nation this week, enjoying bus loads of visitors touring our historic sites and neighborhoods. While this made me proud of our local accomplishments, it also raised a lot of questions on whether Indy needs its preservationists to become “Economic Urbanists”. Preservationist have tended to focus on saving the historic physical fabric of individual buildings and assumed that the market or government would take care of the…

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