The Process: Listening, planning, and building connections

How do we make Indy a better place to live, work and visit? We bring people together.

People from across Marion County have joined forces to stitch together numerous activities, plans, ideas and initiatives for the purpose of focusing on the nuts and bolts of what make the City of Indianapolis a great city. In most instances, this has meant focusing on changes to existing systems and structures rather than applying already limited resources to entirely new ideas or large (built) projects. The power of the Bicentennial Plan process is how it articulates what will be done, rather than what should be done. Each and every component outlined in the Bicentennial Plan has a committed partner capable of fulfilling an action step, and numerous partners who are working to realize the larger vision.

Our Leadership Team

Ellen Annala

Formerly with United Way of Central Indiana

Matt Gutwein

Marion County Health & Hospital Corporation

Jimmie McMillian

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Rafael Sanchez

Indianapolis Power & Light
a subsidiary of the AES Corporation

Committees & Taskforces

From the beginning, our process was driven by six facets of life in Indy. These facets, Choose Indy, Connect Indy, Love Indy, Serve Indy, Thrive Indy, and Work Indy provided structure for our early work. To start, committees for each theme were formed and were staffed with a full-time project manager, a veteran committee co-chair, an emerging leader co-chair, a lead resource organization, and 15-20 volunteer members from the larger Indianapolis community. All members of the Plan 2020 team were selected for their mix of experience, leadership, and passion for the city of Indianapolis. Below, you can find more information about each of the committees.


Choose Indy was charged with creating the most livable community in the Midwest; one that improves its ability to compete regionally for residents. A competitive Indy offers unparalleled choices and variety of homes and neighborhoods. A competitive Indy offers unmatched access and choices for high-performing schools. A competitive Indy offers choices for active, thriving neighborhoods that have community gathering spaces, strong identities, and distinct amenities. A competitive Indy offers residents the opportunity to thrive.


Connect Indy was charged with creating a community where residents have unparalleled access to both places and information. A connected Indy provides unmatched mobility through a network of world-class transportation options for all users. As the crossroads of America, a connected Indy catalyzes economic opportunity through efficient movement of goods and services. A connected Indy facilitates the free flow and exchange of information that allows residents and businesses to prosper, and city government to operate more effectively.


Love Indy was charged with creating a city that welcomes, engages, and inspires all. A lovable Indy builds upon its heritage and supports a diversity of people, authentic places, and experiences that foster civic pride and economic impact. A lovable Indy builds upon a tradition of innovation to offer unparalleled arts, culture, sporting, and entertainment amenities accessible to all.


Serve Indy was charged with creating the most civically engaged and committed community in the nation. A served Indy builds upon a tradition of service to others as a defining characteristic of our community. A served Indy connects everyone to serve together across differences in times of both need and opportunity. A served Indy reinforces that all people are cared for and have value.

GIPC_Thrive-Indy-Logo_2-Color copy

Thrive Indy was charged with advancing both the health of our residents and our city. A thriving Indy puts human health at the forefront of all policy and decision making. A thriving Indy recognizes that the health of the environment determines the community’s ability to live safe and full lives. A thriving Indy is more resilient and therefore able to “bounce-forward” from social, economic and environmental shocks and chronic stresses.


Work Indy was charged with creating a community with unparalleled economic opportunity that allows all residents to thrive. A working Indy provides economic mobility through diverse and accessible employment offerings, career development opportunities, and supportive services. A working Indy provides robust connections between high-quality education and workforce needs. A working Indy welcomes entrepreneurship and offers an environment for residents to pursue their passions. A working Indy creates an unmatched high-value business climate that attracts and grows the community as the economic engine of Indiana.


The Plan 2020 team sought to extend its reach and become more dynamic by introducing the CityCorps Fellowship and CityCorps Internship programs. The fellowship program infused the planning process with ideas, insights and action through research, technical support and creativity. A total of two requests for proposals were issued attracting 20 thought leaders from across the city of Indianapolis and the U.S. Topics addressed ranged from program development for broader engagement with Indianapolis’ greenways to evidence-based community engagement and securing $15M for the creation of a transit-oriented development fund to effectively create and preserve affordable housing and community development near transit stops.

The internship program brought 11 of the best and brightest students from Indiana universities together for a long-term internship program in support of the update of the five technical city plans. The interns were selected through a competition process and were provided with a paid internship, community leadership development training, and the opportunity to volunteer for a Marion County-based non-profit organization.

Public Involvement

Between March 2014 and December 2015, Plan 2020 reached over 100,000 people using a dozen different community engagement vehicles. The result was a public engagement process deeply committed to guaranteeing that the Bicentennial Plan’s development and final recommendations remain accessible to anyone who lives, works and visits Marion County. Plan 2020 actively sought out more and more perspectives to be as inclusive as possible. The team returned to the drawing board repeatedly, trying to reach out to anyone with unique needs and circumstances, including substantial populations within our community that are historically under-represented in planning processes such as this.