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For Immedidate Release: April 23, 2022

Downtown Indy, Inc.’s President/CEO Sherry Seiwert Steps Down

Media Contact: Bob Schultz

With Downtown poised for significant growth and transformation, Seiwert ends 10-year run to make way for new leadership; Schultz named Interim President.

INDIANAPOLIS - - Downtown Indy, Inc. (DII) reports that President and CEO Sherry Seiwert will resign at the end of the month. Seiwert has been with the private, civic nonprofit since 2012 as the organization’s second president since its inception in 1993. Bob Schultz, DII’s senior vice president, becomes Interim President as Downtown Indianapolis transitions from recovery to redevelopment and resurgence.

“I feel like the time is right,” explained Seiwert, as she communicated her plans to the Downtown Indy, Inc. staff and executive committee of the board yesterday. “Recently, I’ve been contemplating what is next for me and what is best for this organization. I couldn’t in good conscience leave this organization during a global health crisis and I felt that the continuity of leadership would be helpful through the pandemic and what became a recovery of our ultimate devastation of Downtown. Now, though, I feel we are recovering and it’s time for me to consider my next chapter more fully. It’s time for new leadership and I’m excited about what is to come for DII and Downtown’s post-pandemic prosperity and transformation.
DII Board Chairperson Bill Browne, owner and founder of RATIO Architects and a Downtown resident himself, was quick to compliment Seiwert. “I hope all of Indianapolis would join me in expressing our appreciation for Sherry’s leadership and steadfastness,” he said. “The past two years especially have been difficult for everyone, but Downtown has been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. Fortunately, we are a resilient city and there have been great successes these past 10 years. We entered the pandemic from a position of strength and now, we are seeing positive signs of a healthy return every day.”

Downtown successes over the past 10 years during Seiwert’s tenure include:

  • The completion of the Velocity plan – a short-term and longer-term strategic plan for Downtown that eventually gave way to many developments, such as the Market East Cultural District, new pocket parks throughout the neighborhoods of Downtown, and a downtown playground along the Canal;
  • Initial branding and placemaking efforts and events strategy for Georgia Street, Canal Walk and most recently, Monument Circle;
  • Launch of the $7.6 million Lilly Endowment, Inc. funded “Shining A Light” initiative on the Circle that now includes nightly patriotic video, light and sound presentations and other seasonally themed programming;
  • Formation of DII’s Street Ambassadors program in partnership with HVAF where formerly homeless veterans are employed to clean sidewalks and beautify the Mile Square;
  • Most recently, key deliverables of the Downtown Indy Recovery Committee that addressed safety/ security, cleanliness, diversity/inclusion, and place-branding efforts: o The City of Indianapolis/CIB infused $750k into enhanced and laser-focused Downtown safety patrols.
    • DII tripled its off-duty IMPD foot and bike patrol officers’ coverage from 25 hours/week to 100+ hours/week. The use of off-duty officers has long been a DII prioritized initiative.
    • DII launched its Safety Ambassador program hiring four civilians to walk the Wholesale District, checking in on businesses and being extra eyes and ears on a full-time, daily basis.
    • Additionally, DII purchased security cameras for street-level businesses as part of a coordinated B-link network allowing IMPD to monitor negative events and make arrests quickly.
    • DII initiated a recovery program in partnership with GANGGANG and the Indy Black Chamber that recruits Black-owned businesses to fill vacant Downtown retail parcels in. The plan, now titled “In The Mix,” eventually received a $250k grant from JPMorgan Chase & Co.
    • Finally, DII’s marketing team created the “Back Downtown” campaign with refreshed promotional videos, digital ad placements, street pole signage, community clean-ups and other events to increase awareness and engagement

Browne and DII board member Krista Skidmore are forming a Search Committee that will surface the next CEO to lead the organization into the next decade. “It’s a new day for urban cores and we’re incredibly bullish about Downtown and the transformational growth and energy that is brewing and evolving,” he said. “Advocacy for Downtown Indianapolis and the activation of DII’s mission have never been more critical, and we take that civic charge with great responsibility and passion.”

Browne also announced that DII’s Senior Vice President of Marketing and Events Bob Schultz has been named Interim President/CEO.

Schultz thanked Seiwert and offered his thoughts on the immediate priorities for the organization: “It has been my personal and professional pleasure serving DII alongside Sherry for the past nine years and I wish her the absolute best,” Schultz said. “Looking ahead now, we have incredible opportunities to advance our Downtown and redouble our efforts with urgency and a collaborative spirit. With more than $3.6 billion in development projects in the pipeline, Downtown remains the safest IMPD district in Marion County, we have the fastest growing neighborhood in the city and residents and visitors are returning and engaging in record numbers. Therefore, we must capitalize on this increased diversity of thought from existing and emerging talent and harness the refreshed energy and interest in Downtown to maximize this time of renewal and investment.”

Seiwert, Browne, Skidmore and Schultz, along with leaders from the City of Indianapolis and the nonprofit and business sectors will discuss national trends impacting downtowns, celebrate recent local successes, and highlight transformational projects underway in the urban core at next week’s 2022 State of Downtown on Thursday, April 28 at 4 p.m. at the Hilbert Circle Theatre.

Downtown Indy, Inc. is a private, not-for-profit organization uniquely positioned to address issues that affect the area’s growth and well-being. Downtown Indy, Inc. focuses on development, management, activation and marketing to advance Downtown as a great place to live, learn, work and visit.