There’s a new push to bring more people to Georgia Street, but organizers are realizing it may take some time to bring the people back to the downtown destination.
Millions of dollars went into upgrades to the street prior to the Super Bowl, and it was a popular place for visitors and locals throughout the festivities. Since then, the street has been under nearly constant repair, and the crowds have disappeared.
"My son is a huge, huge Pacer's fan and so we thought we'd come down and see what it was all about," said Marrietta Riley, who traveled from Greenwood to downtown to take part in the new event.
Though Riley said they did enjoy checking out prize booths hosted by the Pacers, Colts and Indianapolis Ice, she said they didn’t see much beyond the vendors, though.
"There's no people,” Riley said. “There's just nobody here. It's sad."
The goal of the Second Thursdays event was to encourage crowds to gather on Georgia Street. The event ran from 11 a.m. to 8p.m. in hopes of bringing crowds of downtown employees and visitors to the city.
Organizers said they were encouraged by a steady crowd during the lunch hour, but many people didn’t appear to get the message once the workday ended.
"I think with more advertising, I think it could be really, really fun event for everybody," Riley said.
The struggle to attract people to Georgia Street is something Adam Gillaspie has seen firsthand from his nearby apartment.
“Pretty busy during the weekend nights, but it's been pretty dead during the day," Gillaspie said.
Indianapolis Downtown Inc. tried to change that trend by bringing in live music from the nearby Drum Corps International competition, and just because the crowds were small on this Thursday, that doesn't mean they're discouraged.
"It takes time and the best way to get the word out is to go ahead and put your oar in the water and do something,” said Julia Watson, Marketing Director for Indianapolis Downtown Inc. “That's what we did today, and we'll be back doing it the second Thursday of September."
Gordon Coke, owner of The Pub on Georgia Street, has been critical of the efforts along the street ever since the Super Bowl crowds vanished, but now he said he’s encouraged. Despite the small turnout, Coke said he is impressed that Indianapolis Downtown Inc. put the effort into brining people back. He’s also seen several landscaping problems fixed and street repairs finished.
"Hopefully, you know, next month there will be a little bit more people and the word will get out and everybody will enjoy it," Coke said. "It's in progress. We're starting to move in the right direction and hopefully it will bring more things down in the future."
"I think it will get better,” Gillaspie said. “I have faith."
Officials working to reignite Georgia Street's popularity