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City-County Council approves downtown sports taxing district, purchase of Broad Ripple Family Center

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December 4, 2023



Council OKs bonds for Broad Ripple Park family center acquisition

The city can move forward its plan to acquire the new Broad Ripple Park Family Center, after the council voted Monday to authorize up to $26 million in principal bonds.

The unanimous vote follows weeks of pushback by neighborhood leaders and residents in Midtown neighborhoods who have expressed concern about how debt for the project might be serviced on a long-term basis. Councilor John Barth, who will represent Broad Ripple and other parts of Midtown after redistricting takes effect in January, was not present for the meeting.

The city plans to use up to $22 million from the Midtown tax-increment financing district to repay bonds that would be issued for the acquisition through the Indianapolis Public Local Improvement Bond Bank. The $26 million issuance would be paid back over nearly 20 years and carry an interest rate of up to 8%.

Residents and representatives of several neighborhoods have said they are disappointed by the city’s decision to lean so heavily on the TIF district to cover the debt, as well as the speed at which the city has sought to gain approval for its financing plan.

The city since 2021 has said it plans to purchase the 40,000-square-foot, $19.7 million building within a year of the facility’s opening—which occurred in January—in order to take full control of the property and avoid shelling out nearly $1 million per year as part of a long-term lease agreement with BR Health.

Parks officials have said not buying the property now would also put several capital projects related to master planning and erosion mitigation at risk in 2024, and potentially other projects beyond that.

The center at 1426 Broad Ripple Ave. was developed through a partnership between Indy Parks and BR Health Holdings LLC, a holding company of Indianapolis-based Avenue Development. It is expected to cost the city about $22 million.

Representatives from the neighborhoods of Broad Ripple, Butler Tarkington, Mapleton-Fall Creek, Meridian Kessler and Midtown have said they were not made aware of the plan to use the TIF for the project until early November and were not able to have substantive conversations with city officials until the middle of the month.

The bonds would be used to cover the principal cost of the purchase, establish a reserve fund, pay financing costs and cover a portion of interest on the debt. In addition to dollars from the TIF, debt would be serviced by facility-generated revenue and other parks department revenue.

Rental payments from Community Health, which has a 25-year lease to operate a health clinic in the building, would also be applied to the debt service. Community is paying $493,350 in rent this year and will pay $412,500 next year, with lease payments increasing by 2% each year thereafter.

Under its current deal with BR Health, Indy Parks agreed to lease at least 25,000 square feet in the family center for 30 years, with the option to buy the building. While rent was waived for the first year, the department will be required to pay $79,900 per month in rent—$958,800 per year—as well as contribute funds toward maintenance and upkeep of the property.

The price tag for the purchase of the building was established in the lease agreement between the parties, with the cost increasing by $1 million per year if the city fails to close on the acquisition by Jan. 3.


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