Monday, May 07, 2007

$4 Million For Skating Academy

Who said this year's state budget was tight? Lawmakers managed to pull enough money together to give a $4 million gift to the Indiana/World Skating Academy to relocate its headquarters from the Pan Am Plaza to the State Fairgrounds. That's half the cost the academy expects to incur from relocating its two-rink facility according to the Star. Its current lease of $1 per year is being terminated by the Indiana Sports Corporation, which has put the current facility up for sale because the maintenance costs for the facility are too expensive.

Indianapolis has provided all kinds of tax breaks and incentives to get not-for-profits to relocate their headquarters to the city. Why? It's bad enough we keep adding more and more tax-exempt property to the tax rolls, which means all the more local taxpayers have to pay to make up for the loss of tax revenues, but do we have to keep handing out multi-million-dollar subsidies to them after they move here? The Star indicates the academy will be required to raise the other half of the funds needed to complete the move as a condition to the new facility being built on the fairgrounds property, but it also looks like they're going to get another long-term $1 per year lease like the academy currently has at its downtown location.

4 comments:

electrasteph said...

The Indiana Sports Corporation's claim of "maintenance costs" is a bit of a fib - it's true that maintaining a rink can be expensive, but they real reason they kicked out the Academy and put the facility up for sale is because they saw green when the stadium was approved; it was one of the four potential sites for the major hotel. They eventually lost out on that deal, but they're still hoping to parlay their prime real estate near the stadium into a major profit, at the expense of amateur sports in Indianapolis, which is a bit ironic, since it is the Indiana Sports Corporation doing this.

The Skating Academy creates enough revenue for the city to offset the cost. They host a summer school for skaters that brings kids from all over the world who spend money here, and they host competitions that bring skaters and money here from around the world. If the city doesn't keep them, that revenue goes to Fishers and it's rink, because the Academy will end up there. That might be good for Fishers, but it will be a net loss for Indy, and for the sport of skating.

And I should admit bias - my girlfriend is a competitive figure skater with the Indiana/World Skating Academy; the loss of the Pan Am facility was a blow to our budget and to our level of convenience.

kdm said...

What’s more, this $4 million gift to support amateur ice skating represents, for one example, a 1/5 of the needed funds to honor the intent the General Assembly had already made to fund Indiana’s first Virtual Charter Schools. These fully accredited and state mandated public schools were fully organized and ready to go open this fall when the final element, the $20 million dollar funding, was slashed out of the State budget.

The last minute reneging of funding for virtual charter schools means that thousands of enrollee’s statewide have been left out in the cold and that a progressive viable public education alternative to the traditional costly and failing bricks-and-mortar approach has failed for this year.

kdm said...

“The Indiana Sports Corporation's … (the) real reason they kicked out the Academy and put the facility up for sale is because they saw green when the stadium was approved;…”

The factor involved in best land use (referred to as opportunity cost)is exactly why the ISC made the correct decision in regard to Pan Am Plaza land usage and why it did not in regard to the Colts new home stadium.

Anonymous said...

I am concerned about the comment that IWSA will HAVE TO relocate to fishers. IWSA has absolutely NO intention on permanately locating anywhere except their new facility despite hopes of some coaches/ skaters that are wishing to reap the benefits of IWSA going out of business. I hope everyone realizes this is about the children with dreams and the support of amateur sports not the gain of finances or power.