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Unigov

From Academic Kids

Unigov is the name adopted by the city of Indianapolis to describe its consolidated city-county government, adopted in 1970 by act of the Indiana state legislature.

Indianapolis was intentionally surveyed and founded as the capital of the US state of Indiana. Given the state of urban planning in 1821, little thought was given to the growth of the city. Original planners were of the opinion that it would never grow beyond its original square mile (2.6 km²) layout (still known as "the Mile Square"). Contrary to their belief, Marion County soon was filled with small communities with connections to or with businesses that had formed to take advantage of Indianapolis's location midway between Chicago, Illinois and Louisville, Kentucky. City growth happened in fits and starts, and it was possible in some areas to leave and re-enter Indianapolis while traveling in a straight line. The movement of affluent citizens to more fashionable suburbs, especially to the north of the city limits, accelerated into full white flight in the period after World War II. While this sprawl was generally within Marion County, it hastened the decay of the city itself.

Unigov was proposed in the late 1960s to address these problems. What ultimately emerged, however, was a compromise. The cities of Beech Grove, Lawrence, Southport, and Speedway each maintained autonomy, with their own police forces, school systems, and mayors, although they are also represented on Unigov's Common Council (legislative body), since other services like road and natural resource management were granted to Unigov. In addition, fire service and school districts were maintained at their pre-Unigov borders, and some towns othewrise incorporated into the city were permitted to maintain independent police forces.

The incorporation of the city's suburbs has been seen as working to the political benefit of the Republican party, which held the mayor's office from 1967 until the election of Democrat Bart Peterson in 1999. Peterson has sought to further consolidate city and county governments. The proposal, dubbed Indianapolis Works! (http://www.indygov.org/eGov/Mayor/IndyWorks/home.htm), would eliminate some remaining duplication in the name of governmental efficiency.

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