Not quite Venice

I live in Indianapolis, and I work downtown. In Downtown Indianapolis we have this lovely thing called The Canal. The Canal is man-made, and it is basically a 1.5-mile-long concrete moat with sidewalks on both sides so people can walk along and admire the putrid water and over-abundant algae. 

And they do. Once, I saw a guy on a unicycle. Moms pushing strollers (of the jogging, double, umbrella or travel system variety) are a common site. Joggers  and jugglers and dog-walkers and bicyclists and field-tripping-middle-schoolers are all frequent visitors. In the summer, they offer actual gondola rides on The Canal. And you can rent a paddle boat or a kayak and paddle right into one of the many fountains designed to keep some sort of current. People do that a lot. Once, I even saw a runner pee into one of the planters.  

How have I seen all this? My office window looks out over The Canal, so I can spend several minutes every hour gazing out into The Canal and keeping watch over it. You know, from terrorists and bush-peers and other malfeasant types. It helps with productivity. Really. 

Now, from up here, it actually looks pretty. Mostly they keep the fountain in the corner running, so the algae doesn’t accumulate too badly outside my window. I can see some dead leaves pushed up along the side, and the water has a bit of a green cast to it, but overall, it’s actually pleasant and a little soothing to have something nice to look out on in times of great frustration. Or when I should be transcribing a recorded interview or summarizing a committee meeting. 

Up close, though, The Canal is … gross. It smells bad. The plant life along the bottom is out of control. There are supposedly piranhas that irresponsible pet owners have loosed on the native Indiana fish stocked in The Canal. The city has been fighting a battle against The Canal almost since it was constructed about eight years ago.  

So, next month, they are Draining The Canal. The entire 1.5 mile stretch will be emptied of all water. The fish will be transported to the White River and the entire thing is going to be cleaned. Will this help? I don’t think they know. But I’ll be interested to see how absolutely disgusting the bottom of The Canal is when the drain actually happens.  And whether or not my tax dollars – which are paying for this experiment, and the full-time employee whose job it’s been to keep The Canal looking spiffy for the last year – are going to waste.

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7 Responses to Not quite Venice

  1. Sarah says:

    Oh, I hate that. We’ve got a few man-made “springs” around here that are the same issue. Especially if we have community events around them. The smell is overwhelming and during misquito season, you can’t pay me to get near them.

    Glad to know you’re thwarting the bush-peers, though. Someone’s got to.

  2. Christina says:

    I have lived in IN (Indy, Fort Fun and Bloomington) since 2000 and you know I have yet to actually walk by that canal and for that I am grateful… I have to admit. It looks gross from the news footage. It will be interesting to see what happens after the above mentioned draining and future upkeep. But I have to say… piranhas? I mean who does that??? 😉

  3. I used to live on the canals in Venice Beach, CA. When the tide was high, they were very full, but when it was low they drained completely. Still there were definite manky parts to it.

    I hope the cleaning works!

  4. rimarama says:

    I never knew this fact about Indianapolis. Gondola rides? Piranhas? Indianapolis is getting more and more fascinating by the minute, but I what an eyesore that will be when it’s drained. Maybe they can fill it up with little plastic balls like in the Kid Zona at Ikea. Now that’s an attraction.

  5. Jennie says:

    I look at a freeway.

    And PIRANHAS? Jeez. Irresponsible pet owners is right.

  6. Marlee says:

    Sounds yucky… wonder what else they will find in the bottom of it.

  7. Pingback: Lede Me On » Blog Archive » The hits just keep on coming

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