Velodrome future in limbo

May 11, 2009
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velodromeWhile the Marian College cycling team has been off hunting national championships in Colorado, school officials’ plan to manage the Major Taylor Velodrome has not yet won support from Indy Parks.

Marian College officials late last year forwarded a plan to manage the facility, which included upgrading the locker rooms, concession areas and other infrastructure, marketing the facility regionally and nationally to bring some of the biggest track cycling events to the facility, starting a week-day circuit race—or criterium—series on the streets and paved trails around the Velodrome and using the city’s trail network to the Velodrome to make it more of a destination for commuters, cycling aficionados and outdoor enthusiasts.

Marian’s plan also included enhancing off-road riding infrastructure for BMX, mountain and cyclecross bikes, as well as a two-mile perimeter loop for walking, running and leisure riding. Combined with trails in the Marian College EcoLab, an outdoor nature preserve of sorts, the new loop would make available a walking/hiking trail of almost five miles. Enhancing activities at the adjacent skate board park and Rugby field also are part of the plan.

It seemed like the perfect partnership for the school, which is about a half-mile from the Velodrome, and Indy Parks. A memorandum of agreement was drafted earlier this year, but the deal was never finalized.

“Marian continues to be a potential partner,” said Paula Freund, Indy Parks spokeswoman.

But Freund added that “several” organizations are interested in partnering with the city and making a “significant investment to the Velodrome.” She emphasized that any plan will have to consider the larger Lake Sullivan Sports Complex.

Indy Parks officials are issuing a request for information to gather a “broad spectrum of ideas and input” on the larger complex and a request for proposal for companies and other organizations interested in operating the Velodrome.

Marian officials in December told IBJ they hoped to launch enhanced programming at the Velodrome this spring and summer. Those plans are now on hold. Freund said the 27-year-old Velodrome facility needs “$750,000 just to bring it up to standard.” The track itself, she said, is in good shape. Indy Parks officials have now set a fall deadline to have the future of the Lake Sullivan Sports Complex mapped out, she added.

“We’re excited about the potential for partnering and gathering new ideas,” Freund said. “Public access to these facilities will be a key concern going forward.”
  • Why the hell won't Indy Paks accept Marian's offer? It seems like an offer they can't refuse! Here's hoping Indy Parks finds some common sense for this practical choice.
  • 1. Hidebound bureaucracy.
    2. Not Invented Here.
    3. Loss of control by Parks staff.

    Including the whole Lake Sullivan sports complex really means the above.

    Get the picture?
  • I think Indy Parks should strongly consider Marian's offer. The Marian solution helps to preserve an important amenity in our community while boosting the image and profile of an important Indianapolis educational institution.
  • We can look at NASA to see what the Gov't can accomplish sans political meddling. Then we can see the other side. This reluctance by the ne'er do wells at INDY Parks shows the ugly side of political involvement amd gov'mint at its worst.
  • The Marian deal was a marriage made in heaven but intrapersonal conflict between the two sides deep-sixed the deal. There is a lot of bad ju-ju floating around and some serious sour grapes on the part of certain people who are close to MTV's operating staff.

    Individuals within the track assert that at worst the program will continue as it did last year. But I fear that parterships with non-cycling entities will mean an end to MTV as we now know it -- a bike racing track.
  • If the Marian deal was so good why wouldn't the budget challenged IndyParks jump at the opportunity to develop a partnership? Politics have been mentioned as the culprit but I believe the real issue is money. Managing the park is only a small part of the equation. Money, and lots of it, is needed to restore the aging facility. If Marian, or anyone for that matter, came to the table with a workable plan to restore and run Lake Sullivan Park, I'm sure IndyParks wouldn't hesitate to form a partnership.

    Holiday Park is a fine example of a public/private partnership that benefits both stake holders and the general public. The Friends of Holiday Park is a non-profit association of commited individuals who raise all the money needed to maintain and improve that facility, and they have done a fabulous job! Sure, they spoiled IndyParks, but I consider that a good thing because they set the benchmark by which all future IndyParks partnerships will be evaluated.

    Ultimately, it doesn't matter who develops the partnership for Lake Sullivan Park. What does matter, though, is that the 'deal' is structured to provide funding for physical improvements and maintenance in addition to a knowledgeable staff that is passionate about running a multi-use facility. Anything short of that is wishful thinking.
  • Mayor Greg Ballard.

    Name one thing good that has happened under his watch.

    He's got WAY bigger problems than this.

    Greg Ballard: A Mayor only BerwickGuy could love. :lol:
  • A match made in heaven? I’d take a guess that Marian College came in and steamrolled over the Parks Director by using every Catholic force and Political Contact they have. The College most likely pissed off the very people they needed to befriend. Throw in the fact that the College has a history of promising one thing in the media (look at their cycling center, reality versus the IndyStar article, what a joke!) and discussing totally different topics in private “reality”, that we don’t even know the whole story. The Parks wont’ air their dirty laundry and Mr. Peterson and Marian College can spin their stories whichever way they want. Maybe the school will someday figure out they are small fish in the city, and should be a bit more respectful to their community. All they do is take, without ever giving back unless it truly benefits their bottom line (the pocketbook).

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  1. How much you wanna bet, that 70% of the jobs created there (after construction) are minimum wage? And Harvey is correct, the vast majority of residents in this project will drive to their jobs, and to think otherwise, is like Harvey says, a pipe dream. Someone working at a restaurant or retail store will not be able to afford living there. What ever happened to people who wanted to build buildings, paying for it themselves? Not a fan of these tax deals.

  2. Uh, no GeorgeP. The project is supposed to bring on 1,000 jobs and those people along with the people that will be living in the new residential will be driving to their jobs. The walkable stuff is a pipe dream. Besides, walkable is defined as having all daily necessities within 1/2 mile. That's not the case here. Never will be.

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  5. The Indy Star announced today the appointment of a new Beverage Reporter! So instead of insightful reports on Indy pro sports and Indiana college teams, you now get to read stories about the 432nd new brewery open or some obscure Hoosier winery winning a county fair blue ribbon. Yep, that's the coverage we Star readers crave. Not.