Changes Afoot At Old Market Square Arena Site?

City Seeks To Pave Parking Lot

After nearly a decade, changes could be coming soon to the old Market Square Arena site downtown.

The former home of the Indiana Pacers was imploded in July 2001. After the rubble was removed, the city was left with two very large gravel parking lots.

Nine years later, the city still has two very large gravel parking lots, but that's against the rules, 6News' Chris Pisano reported.

"City ordinance actually requires all parking lots to be paved after a year," said Maury Plambeck, director of the Department of Metropolitan Development. "The Capitol Improvement Board got some variance to allow them to be gravel, because the intent was the site was going to be developed."

Originally, several large projects were proposed, including a high-rise condominium and retail space planned a few years ago, but that plan fell through as the economy tanked.

Now that the gravel variance has expired, the CIB plans to pave the lots at a cost of $800,000 tax dollars, with parking fees used to eventually cover the cost. Even that plan is temporary.

"We actually hope, from the DMD's perspective, that any parking lot that's only a lot downtown is only an interim use," Plambeck said. "Hopefully, there is a building or other development on it in the future."

Commuters downtown said the parking lot is a good use of the space and that they support the paving plan.

"I think it should be paved," said Joann Hall. "The City-County Building is right across the street. They need sufficient parking."

"I'm in heels, and walking in gravel is not good," said another visitor.

The CIB plans to put down the surface by November, before it's too cold to pave.

No changes have been approved yet. The zoning board will take up the paving issue next month.