Apr 7, 2011

News from MTV

Marian University will assume management of the Major Taylor Velodrome and the surrounding Lake Sullivan Sports Complex under a 15-year contract with the city of Indianapolis, Mayor Greg Ballard announced Thursday morning.
Marian has agreed to make $2 million in improvements to the dilapidated sports park over the next decade, as well as assume the roughly $70,000-a-year maintenance costs from the city. In exchange, Marian will get to keep all revenue from the park for the next decade. For the final five years of the deal, Marian must pay to the city 10 percent of all park revenue over a $250,000 threshold.
Marian, whose cycling team already uses the park’s biking facilities, was one of two finalists to manage the park. The other was a group of cycling coaches led by former Velodrome employee and Marian cycling coach Ken Nowakowski.
“One need only look at the crumbling infrastructure to see that inattention over the past decade and a lack of resources to provide adequate programming and make capital improvements has kept this park from being used to its fullest potential,” Ballard said in a prepared statement. “Marian University has a long-standing tradition of excellence in cycling, and as the primary user for this complex already, they have a vested interest in seeing this project succeed.”
For the past three years, the city has been looking to privatize the sports facilities along Interstate 65 and south of West 38th Street. The facility was built in 1982 when Indianapolis hosted the National Sports Festival. It features the Velodrome banked bicycle track and 2,900-seat grandstand, as well as a BMX dirt bike track and a skate park.
Marian’s challenge will be to make the park create more revenue than the $30,000 to $40,000 it has generated in recent years.
The private Catholic college, whose campus lies a short distance southwest of the sports park, said it plans to make significant upgrades to the Velodrome and BMX track, as well as to add a road course, cyclocross and a four-kilometer walking and jogging trail.
“The Lake Sullivan Sports Complex is an amazing venue that is underutilized, and we see many opportunities to promote health and fitness to residents of all ages as well as create a nationally recognized competitive cycling facility that can host road, cyclocross, BMX, and track cycling events,” said Marian President Dan Elsener in a prepared statement.
The city’s deal with Marian still needs approval from the City-County Council, which expects to first consider it on April 11.


Carl said...

I find it really interesting that the mayor uses the language, "One need only look at the crumbling infrastructure to see that inattention over the past decade..." when it was the city that forced Ken and MTV staff to operate the facility on a shoestring budget. Of course the facility was deteriorating -- the city had their purse strings pulled tight. They put KN in a no-win situation and then used it as a condemning part of a sales pitch to justify awarding the contract to Marion.

So ... how will this play out for local trackies? Could this end up being a good thing for MTV? After listening to Ballard's double-speak, color me skeptical....


Clayton.Feldman said...

I have talked to a few people about this issue over the past years, and in my opinion any addition of money into the facility will more than likely result in an addition to the experience that riders have with the track. It would seem that adding to a facilty can only help to increase its profile, especially when you consider what little the city was doing for the track in the past.

Frederick said...

I'm excited about it. I would expect Marion to be good stewards of the facility.

Chris said...

I think it's great. I don't see them bad mouthing Ken. He runs the team there. The school just has more money to put into rehabbing it. road course? sounds awesome.

AH said...

OK yeah, that sentence in the PR does appear to badmouth Ken, and if taken in that light it is certainly unfair to him. The "crumbling infrastructure" is a result of a previous administration's budget, not Ballard's, and obviously is not Ken's fault. I do hope that Ken is able to find a place in the track's new organization, since he still has a lot to give to the sport.

I see nothing but positives coming from this; the biggest winners being the central Indiana cycling community:

BMXers get their track up and running again.
Track racers will get better training hours and more consistent racing programs.
Roadies will get a closed dedicated crit course that will hopefully lessen the clusterf*ck of 46th and Central.
Crossers will get a dedicated 'cross course that will allow them to stop hiding from the BU fuzz during Hoosier Cross training races.

So other than a small subset of people who have bad juju towards Marian U, I struggle to understand how this could be interpreted as anything other than good.

Chris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carl said...

Thanks, AH, you managed to voice my sentiments better than I did myself. And yes, I thought that particular statement did come across as a bit condemning, maybe I did not take it in its intended context.

I too hope that Ken finds a place in the new organization; his knowledge is a valuable resource for many.