In 2007 it seemed like the tide might be changing for West Indianapolis. Our Community Development Corporation was awarded the IMAGINE Grant and created a Quality of Life Plan and a new Morris Esplanade with the help of WINC and other area partners (The perfect community project for TIF funding!). The Morris Esplanade was a vision stretching from eagle creek to white river that would reconnected our community and pave the way for small businesses to move BACK in and provide needed services to residents.
The City of Indianapolis and Eli Lilly had other plans. It wasn’t enought for them to split our community apart and removed countless homes and businesses over the last 30 years. They needed more! They wanted the 4 million + yearly the Harding Project TIF was acruing and instead of investing in the QOL Plan and Morris Esplanade the City figured out a way to take money from Harding and funnel it into downtown. TIF’s are designed to be used in the area of the TIF and benefit the community as a whole but 2011 marked a dark day in Indianapolis’s history. In 2011, with the approval of Eli Lilly, around the exact time the Morris Esplanade designs were completed a 96 MILLION dollar Bond was approved.The Bond was able to be issued because the city secretly morphed the Harding Project with the Consolidated redevelopment area TIF (a whole nother mess of a story). The city apparently merge the two TIF districts sometime between 2001 and 2006 so money from harding could be funneled out of its boundaries of west indianapolis and into downtown for work on the canal and any other future project they wanted. This marked the start of the city using the tif as a “piggy bank”.
The newest trick the city used to invest in corporations instead of communities and funnel money to Big Pharma is happening at the new “Elanco Headquarters”. The City and State partnered to give Elanco a quarter BILLION dollar corporate welfare package and did it by once again taking from the Harding TIF while still not funding the communities Morris Esplande. This Welfare package was so large they had to funnel 8 million from the Consolidated TIF and the Harding TIF PLUS create a new 64 million dollar TIF over the Elanco campus site. They did this after WINC spoke out against using funds from Harding to fund work for a project that would have ITS OWN TIF. This shuffle of the deck allowed them to expand the TIFS BOUNDARIES so they could take money from Harding and Downtown Consolidated, then remove the boundaries, so they could create a new 60 Million Dollar TIF on the same property.