The Mayor held a Friday Georgia Street press conference, one day after reports began circulating that he had asked for the name Georgia Street to, for now, remain unchanged. In it he announced the plans to erect pillars honoring thirty great Hoosiers.
Ballard also said that this great plan is why he was such a big supporter of changing the street's name. He said he just didn't feel right building an honor to history's great Hoosiers on a street named after another state.
On the surface, I think the Mayor's claim seems to make sense...but I don't buy it. Why would the mayor wait until after he conceded to keep the name to say why he had wanted it changed? Wouldn't announcing grand plans such as these be the first thing you did in the face of complete public disapproval over the issue? And definitely be something you did BEFORE backing down?
"Hi folks. I know there's a lot of people curious why I want to change the historic name of Georgia Street, a name that has been part of city since its inception. I wanna be clear to everybody that it has nothing to do with the Super Bowl or any of the NFL's wishes. We are proud today to announce that the incredible new look of Georgia Street is going to also serve as an honor to the lives of thirty of history's greatest Hoosiers.
"I would like to help add to the honoring of these great Hoosiers by also changing the name of Georgia Street to something more Indiana related. While Georgia Street is an important part of Indianapolis' long history, it just doesn't seem right to have this honor take place on a street named after another state. So, today I am asking for your support in changing this street's name to Hoosier Boulevard!"
That's all it would have taken. You present a plan and you support it with a reason. I'm not saying there would not still have been dissent, but there would have been a lot less of it.
By presenting the name change as an important part of a huge plan to honor our own, the mayor might've just been able to make it happen.
But that's not even close to what Ballard actually did. He promoted name change without rhyme or reason. We heard of Peyton Place and Hospitality Boulevard...cheesy names that Indianapolis doesn't feel represents its personality (and in hindsight do nothing to further the honoring of thirty great Hoosiers.)
Then, in the face of public outcry, the mayor finally backs down. And only then, after he concedes, does the mayor state what his thought process supposedly was from the beginning.
I just don't buy it. It doesn't make sense.