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City to bolster economic development funding

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Two groups critical to Indianapolis’ economic development efforts are poised to receive additional funding to help bring more conventions and businesses to the city.

Mayor Greg Ballard is expected to make the announcement regarding the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association and Indianapolis Economic Development Inc. at his State of the City address Wednesday evening.

Deputy Mayor Nick Weber declined to disclose how much the two organizations might receive in extra funds, pending approval from the City-County Council. But each amount is anticipated to be about $1 million.

The money for the two groups will come from a settlement the city reached with Illinois-based Navistar International Corp., which will pay back part of an abatement after failing to retain more than 1,800 jobs it had promised. The company, which had received $18 million in tax breaks during the past decade, announced early last year that it would close its east-side diesel engine plant.

IEDI operates on an annual budget of roughly $1.1 million, and President and CEO Scott Miller said the windfall from the city potentially could top that.

“We believe that as the economy continues to grow, Indianapolis has positioned itself very well,” he said. “We think these resources will allow us to help [create more jobs].”

The additional funding would enable the organization to better market the city to prospects, Miller said, as well as become more involved in redevelopment initiatives by making direct investments in properties—something IEDI has not done in the past.

ICVA’s promotional efforts also would receive a boost because the new funds would allow it to market city cultural destinations in more cities and hire four additional salespeople, said Don Welsh, the group’s president and CEO.

One of the new hires would be located in Washington, D.C., bringing the sales staff there to four. Walsh said it is important to have a presence in the nation’s capital, given that 13,000 national associations are headquartered in the area.

The ICVA also is revamping its Web site and will unveil the new version April 1.

The money comes at a crucial time for the ICVA, which for months had implored the Capital Improvement Board for more funding. The association is operating on a $13 million budget this year, of which the CIB funds about $9 million.

ICVA needs to attract more conventions to support the expansion of the Indiana Convention Center, the construction of the 1,600-room J.W. Marriott hotel and even additional space available in Lucas Oil Stadium, Welsh said. 

“We’re extremely grateful,” Welsh said. “There’s so many other pressing requests for these funds. This is a big, big commitment to support all of this new infrastructure.”

The State of the City address is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Tobias Theater at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
 

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  1. I am not by any means judging whether this is a good or bad project. It's pretty simple, the developers are not showing a hardship or need for this economic incentive. It is a vacant field, the easiest for development, and the developer already has the money to invest $26 million for construction. If they can afford that, they can afford to pay property taxes just like the rest of the residents do. As well, an average of $15/hour is an absolute joke in terms of economic development. Get in high paying jobs and maybe there's a different story. But that's the problem with this ask, it is speculative and users are just not known.

  2. Shouldn't this be a museum

  3. I don't have a problem with higher taxes, since it is obvious that our city is not adequately funded. And Ballard doesn't want to admit it, but he has increased taxes indirectly by 1) selling assets and spending the money, 2) letting now private entities increase user fees which were previously capped, 3) by spending reserves, and 4) by heavy dependence on TIFs. At the end, these are all indirect tax increases since someone will eventually have to pay for them. It's mathematics. You put property tax caps ("tax cut"), but you don't cut expenditures (justifiably so), so you increase taxes indirectly.

  4. Marijuana is the safest natural drug grown. Addiction is never physical. Marijuana health benefits are far more reaching then synthesized drugs. Abbott, Lilly, and the thousands of others create poisons and label them as medication. There is no current manufactured drug on the market that does not pose immediate and long term threat to the human anatomy. Certainly the potency of marijuana has increased by hybrids and growing techniques. However, Alcohol has been proven to destroy more families, relationships, cause more deaths and injuries in addition to the damage done to the body. Many confrontations such as domestic violence and other crimes can be attributed to alcohol. The criminal activities and injustices that surround marijuana exists because it is illegal in much of the world. If legalized throughout the world you would see a dramatic decrease in such activities and a savings to many countries for legal prosecutions, incarceration etc in regards to marijuana. It indeed can create wealth for the government by collecting taxes, creating jobs, etc.... I personally do not partake. I do hope it is legalized throughout the world.

  5. Build the resevoir. If built this will provide jobs and a reason to visit Anderson. The city needs to do something to differentiate itself from other cities in the area. Kudos to people with vision that are backing this project.

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