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INDIANAPOLIS — Mayor Greg Ballard today was joined by project partners, community leaders and individuals representing the inaugural class of Hoosier Legacy Award honorees for the unveiling of the initial 10 memorial pillars along Georgia Street. The seven-foot-tall pillars feature the likeness and short biography of each of the honored Hoosiers: President Benjamin Harrison, The Lilly Family, President Abraham Lincoln, J.L. “Wes” Montgomery, Ernest “Ernie” Pyle, Booth Tarkington, May Wright Sewall, Tecumseh, Madam C.J. Walker and Lew Wallace.
“These pillars are a fitting tribute to these ten honorees, whose vast accomplishments span the ranks of government, entrepreneurship, civic leadership, philanthropy, the military, politics, education, justice and the arts,” said Mayor Ballard. “It is our intention the residents of and visitors to our great city explore Georgia Street and learn about the contributions these Hoosiers made to our shared history.”
Indianapolis artist James Kelly drew each portrait featured on the pillars, which Ratio Architects incorporated into its designs for the new Downtown gathering space. Georgia Street can accommodate up to 30 decorative pillars. The 2012 Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee donated the cost of the first nine pillars as part of its legacy project to impact our community beyond the game.
“Just four weeks ago, these streets were lined with thousands of people here to celebrate Super Bowl XLVI,” said Mark Miles, chairman of the 2012 Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee. “Recognizing these stellar Hoosiers with these pillars along Georgia Street will allow the legacy of that Super Bowl and the spirit it created in our community to last for generations to come.”
GIPC, which funded the 10th pillar, convened a panel of distinguished historians, archivists and Hoosiers to make the recommendations for the inaugural honorees. The group considered many factors when weighing its recommendations including: person has been deceased at least 20 years, person spent a significant portion of his or her life in Indiana and the person’s accomplishments attained national/international recognition.
About Georgia Street
Georgia Street’s $12.5 million transformational upgrade blends a pedestrian boardwalk, catenary lighting, landscaping and more. The three blocks connect the Indiana Convention Center, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Circle Centre Mall, historic St. John’s Church, restaurants, residences and hotels. Indianapolis Downtown, Inc. serves as Georgia Street manager, further developing, managing and marketing the street to enhance the vitality of adjacent properties and attract major special events and gatherings.