Bicentennial Unity Square | Community basketball court and skating rink come to downtown Indy

Bicentennial Unity Square |  Community basketball court and skating rink come to downtown Indy

INDIANAPOLIS — All construction next to Gainbridge Fieldhouse is starting to see light at the end of the tunnel, with an expected completion date of spring 2023.

the Capital Improvement Council (IPC) and Pacers Sports and entertainment (PS&E) on Friday released updated renderings of the Bicentennial Unity Plaza currently under construction in downtown Indianapolis, just north of Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

The Bicentennial Unity Plaza will primarily be under a permanent canopy system, where it will feature a community basketball court that will be converted into an ice rink in the winter. Plus, many public art installations.

A 30-foot-tall, 110-foot-long art installation titled “Together” by the artist Herman Mejia will be the centrepiece, spanning the width of the plaza with two arches reaching towards each other. The sculpture will be made with mirrored alcoves, allowing reflection.

Another bicentennial work of art will be a 23-foot, 9-inch dome-shaped installation — matching the distance between the NBA 3-point line and the basket — that incorporates two kinetic screens, titled “Sphere.” According to a statement from the CIB, it will project live images of visitors to the square and other selected programs. This will also be built by Mejia.

According to the release, there will also be a large mural in partnership with the Indianapolis Arts Council as part of the Gainbridge Fieldhouse Legends program.

Photo Provided: Marion County Capital Improvement Board

A glimpse of the skating rink at Bicentennial Unity Plaza.

Photo Provided: Marion County Capital Improvement Board

An overview of the Bicentennial Unity Plaza in downtown Indianapolis. This render includes a preview of what the “Sphere” art installation will look like and more.

“Not only will Bicentennial Unity Plaza create another destination for residents and visitors to gather for entertainment, community and conversation, but it will serve as a reminder of our city’s resilience and how, throughout our history, we have been strongest when we come together in unity,” Maj. Joe Hogsett, D-Indianapolis, wrote in a statement. “This sculpture, in particular, will be an important visual reminder of how and why we must fill our differences and celebrating our diversity.”

According to the CIB and PS&E, 80% of the plaza’s programming will be devoted to community activities and public performances. Under the direction of PS&E, the Bicentennial Unity Plaza will be a venue for “various community programs, civic conversations, and artistic performances.”

The plaza will also have public restrooms available for daytime use and when the rink is open. According to the CIB, it is the only square in Mile Square with public restrooms.

These additions to the upcoming plaza are thanks to a $28.47 million grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc.

“Bicentennial Unity Plaza represents a call to action to celebrate our history and diversity, engage with each other and collaborate on programming that brings to life our collective vision of a unified and inclusive community,” said Rick Fuson, Director General of PS&E. “I am so grateful to Lilly Endowment and the CIB for their leadership and commitment to our city and state, and I look forward to working alongside our incredible local organizations to ensure the Plaza lives up to its name.”

Shakkira Harris, WRTV digital reporter, can be reached at [email protected] You can follow her on Twitter, @shakkirasays.