While waiting for some more detailed information, we'll dash off a memo on the downtown situation.
In a column in a Sunday morning paper (2/8/09) the author says he asked a member of the Capital Improvement Board (CIB) whether he would have "signed off on the stadium lease" if he knew then what he knows now. The board member replied, "The answer would have to be no..." He went on to claim that it was the right decision at the time.
Interestingly enough, a week later the Indianapolis Business Journal (IBJ) carries a story referring to the downtown situation as being an economic "perfect storm," one phase of which was "...ten years of operating deficits..." at the CIB.
In the same issue of the IBJ there is a story about the success of the Indianapolis Indians baseball operations. Absurd as it may seem, there is also some suggestion that an increase of the current ticket tax on the baseball team - the only fan-friendly sports operation in the city - should be considered as helping toward the solution of the CIB plight.
The Indians already collect a 6% ticket tax to help fund the football team's palace. It is our recollection that, when the football lease was being worked out, the team rejected a ticket tax on its operation as being a "deal breaker." And, in the midst of these current discussions, the football team used the Valentine's Day paper to let their fans know that some seats were going to cost $10 more per game. Love from the Colts!! (Ten dollars, please!)
The last paragraph in that story quotes the director of sports marketing programs at the University of Indianapolis as saying, "At this point, it's not about fairness; its about need."
We were told about the "need" for an expanded convention center when the "Billion Buck Boondoggle" was crammed down the throat of the taxpayer. Maybe even the CIB choked on selling the need of a football field while running a secret ten-year deficit in a smaller arena.