Unusual is being kind to the flawed plan of IndyParks to let Community Health Networks move their physicians’ clinic from its current location on Broad Ripple Avenue (across from Broad Ripple High School) into five acres of Broad Ripple Park in exchange for building a Family Center Building [Cash-strapped Indy Parks seeks creative financing for community center, Jan. 3].
First of all, there is so much excess non-park land in the area more appropriate for such a use. This includes the former Marsh store, the former Macy’s store, Broad Ripple High School, the former MCL cafeteria site, the soon-to-be-vacated Glendale Library, etc. Using precious valuable public park land for a health clinic is inappropriate. No other city does this, including cities that allow some private uses as your article noted. Further, it is totally unrelated to a park usage.
I support an honest open discussion of park funding issues. Other revenue sources should be explored. This includes a private fundraising campaign like was used at Holliday Park recently to renovate the Nature Center and Ruins exhibit. $2 million or more was raised this way.
Another possibility is selling naming rights to the park, to the pool, to the tennis courts, etc.
Yet another idea would be charging admission to the park like is already done for the dog park. This would include charging for use of the tennis courts and soccer fields. Fees could also be raised for the Community Center classes.
A land giveaway to a health network via a 99-year lease sets a dangerous precedent and could threaten other parks.
Further, there has been no demonstration that the existing Community Center is inadequate. Indeed, some of their programming duplicates that offered by the nearby Jordan YMCA and Glendale LA Fitness. It is unclear why IndyParks needs to offer some of the programs. In short, this is a solution in search of a problem.