Indianapolis Monthly

Joe’s Crossroads

IT WAS A CRISP Friday morning in September, and for the first time in a long time, Monument Circle hummed with life. Drake’s “In My Feelings” played on the Circle’s speaker system as a Colts pep rally got underway. Cheerleaders clapped blue pom-poms together. Football fans wandered through downtown’s heart.

Gone was the human feces that occasionally dotted the streets this past spring and summer. Gone were the homeless, who had been known to accost passersby. Gone was the out-in-the-open drug use that had become common.

On this particular morning, a more hopeful scene unfolded. City and civic leaders gathered for a downtown cleanup, wearing matching red #BackDowntownIndy T-shirts, part of a $750,000 initiative. Volunteers mulched the Circle’s planting beds and power-washed the streets in an attempt to att ract people back downtown, which had become a shadow of its former self in the last few months. Before the crew spread out across Washington Street, they gathered on the steps of the Circle for the pep rally.

In strode Mayor Joe Hogsett. No fewer than 30 seconds into his remarks—“We care about Indianapolis,” the mayor was saying—a heckler driving around the Circle in a white SUV yelled, “You suck!”

It wasn’t

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