City offers another parks facility for lease

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Indianapolis is offering another city-owned facility for lease in hopes of generating more cash for the parks department.

Indy Parks & Recreation officials on Monday issued a request for proposals to lease the Riverside Marina facility near 30th Street and White River parkway behind the historic Heslar Naval Armory. They’re open to ideas about what will go in the space, but hope to get business plans suggesting uses that will draw in patrons of the nearby Canal Towpath and White River Park Greenway.

“You’ve got a great location for people biking and walking, and just out and about,” said Jennifer McGilvray, a spokeswoman for Indy Parks. “We want something that serves the community. We really don’t want office space in there.”

Riverside Marina property, Indy ParksIndy Parks' Riverside Marina property (Photo courtesy city of Indianapolis)

The site is one of several the city has put up for lease in recent months as the parks department looks for ways to buoy its dwindling budget. Indy Parks will receive about $21.1 million in funding this year, an amount that’s virtually flat over last year’s $21.4 million in projected spending, but down from the $26 million the department received in 2009.

Indy Parks currently leases space used by Rick’s Boatyard Restaurant at Eagle Creek Reservoir and the Broad Ripple Ice Cream Station on the Monon Trail.

The department also is looking to find users for facilities such as the Major Taylor Velodrome cycling venue northwest of downtown and a former dress shop on the Monon Trail in Broad Ripple. The city remains in negotiations with potential users for both spaces, McGilvray said.

Indy Parks also twice proposed leasing out a former railroad station near 38th Street and the Monon Trail but did not get appealing responses.

The Riverside Marina, which overlooks the White River, was leased as a restaurant and boat-rental facility in the 1990s. Up until 2008, the city let the 1,600-square-foot space be rented for events such as weddings and family reunions, but it has not been in use for the last couple of years.

The facility has a kitchen and two rooms and a patio suitable for events hosting up to about 100 people.

The new request for proposals seeks a 10-year lease with an option to renew for an additional five years. How much money the space could generate for the city depends on how it’s used and what those pitches suggest, McGilvray said.

Facilities such as the Monon space were initially estimated to garner as much as $30,000 annually.
“There are so many different options available in terms of how it could be used,” McGilvray said. “That’s what the RFP will help establish.”

She said the department is not currently eyeing other specific facilities to be offered for lease, but reviewing the possibility is an ongoing process.

The city will begin reviewing proposals for the space after the Feb. 28 deadline. The time line for selecting a potential tenant depends on the responses, which likely would take several weeks to review.

Leases for any parks facility must be approved by the City-County Council.  


  • Sweet
    Bales can broker the deal and Brizzi can run the ice cream stand. Since Durham likes vehicles, he can be in charge of bike and pedal boat rentals, that way he can keep up the Cali tan.
  • Parks Services Should....
    Rental Company: for Canoeing, Kayaks, Paddle Boats, Bikes, Segways, with Restaurant; Should be a free lease, hoping someone comes and makes it happen. This should even be where our City, State, and Feds puts some of our Tax Dollars to ensure that we have these kind of Places People Want To Be; Then the surrounding neighborhoods become more valuable, market rate, which will pay back huge returns to our City and State, instead of how we doing it now: Subsidizing everyone to leave, move farther & farther out of the core communities, so there are not enough demographics left to enjoy or pay for these amenities. Our State creates Regionalism, Sub Out Counties, watering down our value in, out, and in between, while creating more expenses, more problems. We need City, State Government, to be fiscally responsible to reinvest into programs that will create Smart Growth, communities which actually reduces Government. Minimally our City & State needs to put financial packages together to partner with the Public / Private Investment Groups so that these key locations are not just left abandoned. If our City is expecting the private sector to always pick up the tab for our governments failed outgrowth economic sourcing model, wrong again. Maybe give free of rent, with some subsidies, to a Public / Private N.F.P. Sub Corp. until the numbers & the business plan work, where the services are affordable enough for people to want to come, and then lease the business model with enough incentives so that an Entrepreneur investor can make enough to give back to these public benefits. Where is our City leadership to turnkey the necessary? Without it, sure someone might come in and make it work for a period of time, and then the costs will over run because the City has not implemented the other imperative Public / Private Sustainable Solutions, so that market rate product like this to take hold. We need to get back to the basics take care of the Core communities, through public private partnerships, create sustainability, and then we can outgrow with sustainable growth, not the over government subsidized flash out growth, creating more government model that this State has been creating; While taking the sources from these core amenities. We now need density done well, By Design, while there are enough people left to spend our dollars on these wonderful places people want, and need to even consider staying or coming back to these areas!

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