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UPDATE: City chooses manager for Velodrome, park

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Marian University will assume management of the Major Taylor Velodrome and the surrounding Lake Sullivan Sports Complex under a 15-year contract with the city of Indianapolis, Mayor Greg Ballard announced Thursday morning.

Marian has agreed to make $2 million in improvements to the dilapidated sports park over the next decade, as well as assume the roughly $70,000-a-year maintenance costs from the city. In exchange, Marian will get to keep all revenue from the park for the next decade. For the final five years of the deal, Marian must pay to the city 10 percent of all park revenue over a $250,000 threshold.

Marian, whose cycling team already uses the park’s biking facilities, was one of two finalists to manage the park. The other was a group of cycling coaches led by former Velodrome employee and Marian cycling coach Ken Nowakowski.

“One need only look at the crumbling infrastructure to see that inattention over the past decade and a lack of resources to provide adequate programming and make capital improvements has kept this park from being used to its fullest potential,” Ballard said in a prepared statement. “Marian University has a long-standing tradition of excellence in cycling, and as the primary user for this complex already, they have a vested interest in seeing this project succeed.”

For the past three years, the city has been looking to privatize the sports facilities along Interstate 65 and south of West 38th Street. The facility was built in 1982 when Indianapolis hosted the National Sports Festival. It features the Velodrome banked bicycle track and 2,900-seat grandstand, as well as a BMX dirt bike track and a skate park.

Marian’s challenge will be to make the park create more revenue than the $30,000 to $40,000 it has generated in recent years.

The private Catholic college, whose campus lies a short distance southwest of the sports park, said it plans to make significant upgrades to the Velodrome and BMX track, as well as to add a road course, cyclocross and a four-kilometer walking and jogging trail.

“The Lake Sullivan Sports Complex is an amazing venue that is underutilized, and we see many opportunities to promote health and fitness to residents of all ages as well as create a nationally recognized competitive cycling facility that can host road, cyclocross, BMX, and track cycling events,” said Marian President Dan Elsener in a prepared statement.

The city’s deal with Marian still needs approval from the City-County Council, which expects to first consider it on April 11.

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  • Thought Process
    It would be interesting to see the thought process behind this. If it's unlikely that the facilities can't generate anywhere close to be self sustaining, and the cost/benefit for the city is out of whack, I say go ahead and let a private entity have it. Lack of planning is what got us here in the first place.
  • Another Ballard Special Backdoor Deal
    Another coup for Ballard in giving away public property to a private Catholic school (which Ballard himself is Catholic). Giving things away free and then telling the people we have no money, it typical GOP ideology. Give away the toll road, parking meter revenue, parks, utilities, etc. Will Indianapolis have anything to its name when Ballard leaves office?????????
  • Hope it Works.
    It's funny how the public had absolutely no say so or input in this process. there are now thousands of skaters/bmx'ers/rollerbladres that are wondering what will become of the skatepark.

    It's also funny how the Mayor waived an $8000 rental fee to Marian University last summer for the "Collegiate Nationals". It makes you wonder where his motives stand.

    I hope Mayor Ballard figures out that alot of the people that use the skatepark are voting age.

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