With 158…157…156…days left until Super Bowl XLVI, preparations are (and have been) in full swing in anticipation of an estimated 100,00-150,000 fans to infiltrating Indianapolis’ city limits on and around February 5, 2012. This is the first time Indianapolis is hosting the Super Bowl and already citizens of the Circle City are experiencing what it means to entertain an outrageous amount of guests.
From the re-naming of one local airport in March 2011 from Mount Comfort Airport to Indianapolis Regional Airport (probably to ensure that visitors know without doing much research that there is an alternative to Indianapolis International Airport when making flight arrangements) to the building of a boardwalk on Indianapolis’ East Side, the city is changing (and improving?) little by little. The construction of the so-called “Super Bowl Village” on Georgia Street (located about a mile east of Lucas Oil Stadium, the home of the Indianapolis Colts and, of course, the Super Bowl) has left many local business owners looking forward to February when they hope to see a huge boost in sales that should help offset the recent construction-induced decline in revenue. There will be no fee required to enter the Village, the idea being that ticket-less fans will be able to “mingle outside in the afternoon and evening, get a drink, huddle in warm zones with heaters and enjoy concerts,” according to wthr.com (the local NBC news affiliate).
Just west of the future “Super Bowl Village” location, and accessible by underground tunnel, is the Indiana Convention Center, whose January 2011 renovation doubled its size, making it the 16th largest convention center in the country. Here the NFL is hosting the “NFL Experience,” which allows paying visitors the chance to see the Vince Lombardi Trophy up close, shop for official NFL merchandise, attend free autograph signings, and participate in one of many youth football clinics. Tickets go on sale in December.
Closer to Lucas Oil Stadium and thanks to a federal grant, the city will add 12 surveillance cameras to the 68 already located in key spots around the downtown area. The cameras will continue to record in real time all the time and transmit to a command center. Gary Coons, the chief of the Division of Homeland Security in the city of Indianapolis Department of Public Safety, says that the “…cameras are really like a forced multiplier…You can only have so many officers in so many places.”
In addition to local law enforcement and construction crews, the Indianapolis Super Bowl Housing Committee (who knew there was such a thing?) has been hard at work sponsoring housing and apartment redevelopment projects on the east side of the city, nearby where the “Super Bowl Village” will be located. Not only do they plan on beautifying the area’s architecture, they are also striving to plant 2,012 trees in the area by 2012 to “help maximize the environmental impact of additional trees while building excitement around tree planting.” You can find out more about their plans for offsetting carbon emissions preparations for and events during the Super Bowl by visiting this website.
Finally, Indianapolis’ skyline was forever changed in February 2011 when the world’s largest JW Marriott Hotel opened its doors. Boasting 1,005 guestrooms and a premiere location, the completion of the hotel “marks the culmination of nearly $3 billion in urban investment in downtown Indianapolis” aimed at luring more tourists, and therefore more money, to good ol’ Naptown.