Getting with the Program: Attracting visitors to community parks and places

Public spaces have value in providing equitable recreation and respite opportunities while creating a sense of place within their communities. But it’s often not enough to design and build a great park or a plaza and call it done. Programming also goes a long way in creating an active community space.

One such example is the Richard G. Lugar Plaza, which opened last fall in downtown Indianapolis. CORE served as owner’s representative for the plaza, a project of the Department of Metropolitan Development and the Indianapolis Marion County Building Authority.

Located in the Market East district—an area burgeoning with development including a new transit center—the previously named City-County Building Plaza needed a transformation to repair deficiencies while creating an active gathering space for the community. As a third party working on behalf of the owner, CORE served helped create alignment and drive the process for this complex design and construction project.

Today, Lugar Plaza, designed by Rundell Ernstberger Associates and constructed by Brandt Construction, is a vibrant gathering place with a variety of seating, greenspace, and amenities to attract visitors. In addition, from yoga to portrait sittings, activities are happening almost daily on the plaza, thanks to Anne Laker (the Lugar Plaza programming manager), programming partner Big Car Collaborative, and the Indianapolis City Market, which provides food and beverages.

“Enlisting CORE as owner’s representative was critical to the plaza’s transformation, and engaging partners to plan events and programs have been key to its continued success,” said Emily Mack, Director of the City of Indianapolis’ Department of Metropolitan Development. “The result is a civic space that invites residents and visitors to relax, play, learn, and connect.”

Have you stopped by the Richard G. Lugar Plaza yet this year? Don’t let summer slip away without taking advantage of what it has what it has to offer! Visit to learn about the plaza’s features and see a list of events and programs.

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