It's bad enough that Ballard lacks any common sense when it comes to extravagant spending on sports-related endeavors at the expense of providing basic city services, but the useless Board of Public Works members simply rubber stamp Ballard's foolish spending without asking a single question. After all, there are more pay offs and kickbacks needed to keep the wheels turning on Ballard's pay-to-play racket, which surpasses even Chicago's long-running pay-to-play rackets. The three Democratic-appointed members of the board failed to show for today's hearing approving the first $2.4 million of spending on this boondoggle by a 4-0 vote. From the Star's Jon Murray:
Work will begin soon on a $6 million city plan to convert a Far-Eastside park into a world sports venue despite opposition from some City-County Council members.
The Indianapolis Board of Public Works on Wednesday awarded the contract for the first of the project’s two phases. Once work is complete in fall 2014, the reconfigured Post Road Community Park, 1313 S. Post Road, could host cricket matches and other international sporting events.
The nearly 50-acre complex will have five multi-use fields for sports such as lacrosse, Gaelic football, rugby and hurling. The park also would accommodate an overlay of two giant circular fields over the others to host cricket matches — the component that has attracted the most attention and criticism. The plan doesn’t include any permanent seating.
The Board of Public Works, voting 4-0, awarded a $2.4 million bid to Renascent Inc., an excavating company.
Public Works spokeswoman Lesley Gordon said the company is responsible for the first of two phases. Its contract covers irrigation work and earth-moving to prepare the fields’ turf.
A second phase, to be bid out later, will include paving, construction of new parking lots and other remaining work . . .Responding to head-scratching by Lauderhill, Florida's mayor, who wonders why in the world Indianapolis would want to burn millions of dollars on such a sports facility when a similar facility in their town costing $10 million has turned out to be a big bust despite the presence of a lot larger immigrant population interested in cricket and other sports not traditionally popular with local sports enthusiasts, Ballard's defenders suggested their problems were based on spending money on a more costly facility with permanent seating.
Indianapolis officials say there are key differences between the city’s plan and the Florida experience, chiefly in scope. Broward County, Fla., spent $10 million on a stadium with permanent stands seating 5,000 as part of a larger $70 million regional park, while Indianapolis’ lower-cost plan doesn’t include a stadium.
Instead, the World Sports Park will include several fields for multiple sports that could be reconfigured regularly, with temporary stands brought in for larger events.
“From a parks perspective,” Indy Parks Director John Williams told reporters today, “I believe this serves a need we have in our community as far as field sports.”
The $6 million cost will be covered by the RebuildIndy fund. That fund draws $425 million in proceeds from the sale of the municipal water and sewer utilities.
Ballard has defended the use of RebuildIndy money, saying the park will serve niche sports that are popular among the metro area’s growing immigrant communities.Ballard's defense of using Rebuild Indy funds for a frivolous project of this nature completely contradicts his past criticism of council members' attempts to appropriate Rebuild Indy funds to use for other purposes unrelated to repairing and maintaining the city's infrastructure.