This is a good time to be a technology meeting or event manager thinking about meeting in Indianapolis. Here's one reason: The city broke ground in early June on 100,000 square feet of new column-free exhibit space at the Indiana Convention Center. When completed next year, the expansion will bring total exhibit space to 400,000 square feet. Part of the expansion will include 18 new loading docks. There will also be an additional 19,600 square feet of meeting room space, bringing the total to more than 140,000 square feet. And, of course, there will be a network for videoconferencing and Internet access.

Now, here's another reason: Last year, the Central Indiana High-Technology Task Force was created, to find out about drawing tech business to the city. The task force has recommended that Indianapolis take steps to enhance high-tech research and development, mentor entrepreneurs, provide access to capital, and generate a skilled work force to boost the city's high-tech standing. The goal is to turn Indianapolis into the Midwest's premier high-tech center for research and development by 2005.

"If we are to continue to prosper as a region, we must focus on the emerging knowledge-based industry revolution," said Scott Webber, chairman of the Central Indiana High-Technology Task Force.

The Indianapolis Economic Development Corp., under the auspices of the Indianapolis and Central Indiana Technology Partnership, will implement many of the Task Force's recommendations.

Indianapolis also unveiled a high-technology brand image for central Indiana as part of the Task Force initiatives. The city plans a local and national marketing campaign to position the region as a smart choice for technology and knowledge-based industries.

The long and the short of it: What better way for a tech organization to get a feel for Indianapolis than by holding a meeting there? That old red carpet will roll out quicker than a gigabit Ethernet.