LandINSight - Indianapolis Airport

In 2010 the Indianapolis Airport Authority undertook an initiative to determine a 30-year vision for land use  around Indianapolis International Airport and the five reliever airports the authority owns.  While consultants were hired to complete the technical analysis - it was critical that there be strong engagement on part of the community and specifically key stakeholders in the process.  Thus, an initiative was created, led by Aloft Owner and Principal, Sean White (while employed at local PR firm Caldwell Van Riper) to accomplish that goal. The final result of the initiative was a 30-year plan for airport development  that a diverse group of community stakeholders "bought into".

Goals and Objectives

One of the key components of the LandInSight  initiative was to engage a broad range of local constituencies in the process. Specifically, the initiative sought to ensure that key community leaders from a diverse set of backgrounds, both personally and professionally were kept apprised of the project’s status and given the opportunity to provide feedback and input. Additionally, the initiative sought public feedback and input through a number of venues, both in-person and electronically. Overall, the Indianapolis Airport Authority (IAA) placed an extremely high value on inclusiveness in this process, with the goal of encouraging strong, broad based stakeholder input and engagement.

The specific tactics used to accomplish this objective included:

Land Use Advisory Committee (LUAC)

A Land Use Advisory Committee (LUAC) was established to help guide and give credibility to the study process. The LUAC was comprised of 50 business and civic leaders in Central Indiana from a variety of different industries and sectors including local government, economic development, higher education, health care, hospitality, utilities, transportation, land planning, airport neighbors, and key local business clusters. The LUAC met four times over the course of the study process to get briefed on progress and provide their input. The LUAC also broke down into seven subcommittees for more detailed discussions. As leaders in the community, the LUAC provided valuable insight into what issues and initiatives were taking place in the community that could impact any potential vision for future airport growth being established.

One-on-One Meetings

Over the course of the study, the project team met with several community leaders to engage in more detailed discussions about the region’s current economic development plans and initiatives and to help determine the best way to marry those initiatives with potential land-uses at the various airport properties.

Focus Groups

Early in the study process (in May 2010), the study team conducted a series of focus groups over the course of three days with different constituencies to inform them about the study process and get their initial input on the potential land uses for IAA properties. The focus groups were divided into five different categories to help better frame the discussion in each one. They included: The brokerage and development community, the higher education community, the business and economic development community, the land planning and infrastructure community, and airport neighbors. Over 300 people were invited to the six different sessions and over 70 attended.

Public Meetings

A set of three public meetings were conducted in September 2010 to allow the general public to view and respond to the draft land use alternatives for the various airport properties. Those identically-formatted public meetings were held at Indianapolis International Airport, Fishers Town Hall (near Metro Airport), and the Hancock County Public Library (near Mount Comfort Airport). These venues were selected to allow for geographic diversity and where the greatest potential impacts from the study could be. Attendees had the opportunity to view a series land use alternatives from each of the different airport properties, talk to study team experts and provide their feedback, either in person or via a comment questionnaire. The public was informed of these meetings via a number of different methods including; press releases, earned media promotions, the LandInNSight website, the IAA website, the IAA e-newsletter, Facebook and Twitter, local airport promotions, and mailed invitations to IAA tenants. In all, nearly 100 members of the public attended the three meetings.


The LandINSight initiative developed a project-specific website (www. to provide interested parties with access to updates throughout the study process. The study objectives, timeline, presentations, press releases, news stories, and detailed information about each property was published and regularly updated on the site. Additionally, starting in September, the website provided a feedback survey that allowed visitors to provide their input on the alternatives. Over the course of the initiative nearly 1,500 people viewed the LandINSight webpage.

Outside Presentations

Several local organizations requested updates on a series of initiatives underway at the airport authority, LandINSight being one of those. IAA Executive Director and CEO, John Clark and IAA CFO, Marsha Stone made presentations to the boards of the following groups:
• Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce
• Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association
• Great Indianapolis Progress Committee
• Develop Indy

Government Relations

In September 2010, the IAA hosted a briefing for the elected officials whose jurisdictions could potentially be impacted by the IAA land use decisions at the seven IAA-owned properties. Over 150 elected officials from Marion, Hamilton, Hendricks, Hancock, and Morgan counties were invited, about 20 attended.

E-Newsletters / Social Media

The IAA’s monthly e-newsletter entitled INDy Insider contained a regular update on the LandINSight initiative. Over 13,000 people receive that newsletter each month. Additionally, some local civic organizations included updates and information in their regular e-newsletters as well. The authority also highlighted the LandINSight initiative regularly on Facebook and Twitter and used those venues to promote the study’s public meetings and other relevant study-related information.

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