CIB to provide $5M for natatorium maintenance

The Capital Improvement Board of Managers of Marion County will give the Indiana Sports Corp. $500,000 a year for the next 10 years to create a reserve fund for maintenance on the IU Natatorium at IUPUI.

The CIB voted 5-2 on Monday afternoon in favor of a resolution, which kicks in this year, for the ongoing grant to the Indiana Sports Corp.

CIB Chairwoman Ann Lathrop said the board, which oversees Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Lucas Oil Stadium and the Indiana Convention Center, also has an interest in the success of other sports facilities for which it isn't directly responsible. The natatorium, owned by IUPUI, is being overhauled by Indiana University with assistance from the Lilly Endowment in time for the 2016 Olympic diving trials.

CIB members Maggie Lewis, president of the Indianapolis City-County Council, and Doug Brown voted against the resolution.

To those who question whether the CIB should be spending more money when the city faces an ongoing revenue deficit, Lathrop said, "Come downtown this weekend. Look at the tax revenues that are generated."

The money is being spent on facilities that generate economic activity in the first place, Lathrop said.

"Without us I believe the budget problem would be worse," she said.

Allison Melangton, president of the ISC, which promotes amateur sports events, said that even though the natatorium is receiving an overhaul, it would be wise to set aside a reserve fund for capital expenses that may arise, such as replacing air-conditioning units, or the indoor air-filtration system.

The CIB will make the first $500,000 grant this year. Though that money wasn't included in the CIB's budget, Lathrop said the CIB can afford it because its expenses are running below budget, and it has a $7.7 million cash reserve.

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