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Indianapolis, once a poster child for blighted Midwestern old-economy cities, is now a showcase for publicly coordinated and funded urban renewal. The city features a city/county “Unigov” government system, which has worked well for coordinated planning and public redevelopment efforts. Cost of living is very attractive for this type of city. The vastly renewed downtown core boasts attractive new buildings, pedestrian zones, and a state-of-the-art sports arena.
The area has a diverse industrial base of high-tech and agricultural industries, and serves as headquarters to pharmaceutical and research giant Eli Lilly and a strong presence of financial services, publishing, industrial automation and software. Spectator sports, including the NBA Pacers, NFL Colts and a few minor league franchises are a huge draw. The venerable Indianapolis Motor Speedway hosts the Indianapolis 500, the Brickyard 400, and other events. Pro and college sports- particularly basketball- get enormous attention. The NCAA Hall of Fame is located downtown, and the city hosts portions of the NCAA basketball tournament each year. “Indy” boasts a well-rounded arts and cultural scene and the educational opportunities of the nearby Indiana-Purdue joint campus and Butler University.
Access and transportation around the city are aided by a grid with radiating spokes and a circular beltway. Residential neighborhoods spread out in all directions, with the fashionable and attractive Carmel, Fishers and Noblesville towards the north. Sections immediately south are more commercial and industrial, while areas farther to the south contain recreational opportunities in the wooded and hilly town of Nashville and Brown County State Park.
In part because of Southwest Airlines, air service features some of the best discounts in the Midwest. Cost of living is very low. Some traffic problems have emerged on commute corridors particularly in the north, and the area has experienced some effects of the decline in the auto industry, Crime rates run a bit above average and air quality is somewhat worse. But these are minor issues; overall Indy is one of the brighter spots in today’s Midwest.
The climate is continental with warm, humid summers, but without a dry season and little extreme heat. Precipitation is evenly distributed throughout the year, and winters are cold and variable with intermittent rain and snow. Snowfalls of 3 inches or more occur on average of two to three times each winter. First freeze is mid- to late October, last is late April.