There has even been some discussion that CIB might operate the Natatorium the way it does Lucas Oil Stadium and the Indiana Convention Center, both of which are municipally owned. CIB leaders have resisted that idea.
“We understand that’s an important facility for this community which draws events that keep hotels and restaurants in the area extremely busy, and that drives tax revenue to the CIB,” Lathrop said. “As a board, we need to look at whether or not we participate in this. And if we decide to participate, we have to decide in which capacity. Everybody wants to see that we find a solution. We just don’t have one yet.”
Mayor Ballard is aware of the discussions, and now that the city’s budget is resolved, his chief of staff, Ryan Vaughn, said the issue will move to the front burner.
“The mayor recognizes this is an important facility for our tourism economy and sports strategy,” Vaughn said. “We’d never just walk away from this issue. We haven’t been forwarded a proposal [by IU]. When we do, we want to see if it makes sense … and see if we can get something done.”It's laughable hearing Lathrop claim the Natatorium draws tourism to the city that helps keep the downtown hotels busy. Even their big events are sparsely attended. More people attend a high school basketball or football game anywhere in the city than attends events at the Natatorium. Beyond the participants, there are very few people who show up to watch the events. If it's so important to the downtown hotels, let's see how much money they contribute to the improvements at the facility. If this facility isn't important enough to IU to maintain, then it should be of no priority to the taxpayers of this city.