Hoosiers, if you didn’t get a gift for Indiana on the occasion of its 200th birthday next year, don’t fret—state and local governments have pledged tens of millions in infrastructure investments and new buildings for the Bicentennial. The state’s share carries a total value of more than $55 million, inviting criticism from fiscal conservatives.
Americans for Prosperity, the political group bankrolled by Billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, is among those casting doubt on claims from statehouse budget officials that a decision to sell off underutilized cellular tower capacity will offset the new spending.
Projects include a long-discussed upgrade to the state archives facility totaling $25 million, and $24 million for a new inn at Potato Creek State Park near South Bend. The state has also planned to spend $1.6 million on a six-week, statewide torch relay across all 92 Indiana counties, and $2 million to build a new Bicentennial Plaza designed by landscape architects at MKSK Studios.
Former Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman, who co-chairs the state’s Bicentennial Commission along with former Congressman Lee Hamilton, told the Indianapolis Star the projects leading up to the actual statehood Bicentennial of December 11, 2016 are an investment in the future of the state:
We want to celebrate and make memories, of course,” Skillman said, “but more importantly we want to help prepare Indiana for the next 100 years of progress and change.