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Panel supports the purchase of Broad Ripple Park Family Center by the city government



Indianapolis, Indiana – Tuesday night marked a significant advancement in the contentious plan to use funds from the Midtown Tax Increment Finance District to assist in financing the purchase of the Broad Ripple Park Family Center.

The idea was approved by the Metropolitan and Economic Development Committee, and on Monday night, the whole Indianapolis City-County Council will discuss it.

Leaders in the Midtown neighborhood are opposed to the plan, arguing that the tax-increment financing, or TIF, district was intended to be community-driven. Tax-increment finance districts, which temporarily reroute funds from local governments, including schools, to specific development-related projects, typically collect all property taxes in Indiana.

“We did not know anything about this until the 11th hour of the situation,” said Mark Demerly of the Midtown Economic Council. “And we plead back to the city to find some other means of providing more of an equitable distribution of the TIF funds.”

Leaders in the community claim that the TIF district was established to assist in directing a portion of the funds gathered from initiatives in the Broad Ripple region toward other neglected Midtown districts. Some claim that because the 25-year TIF district has only 14 years remaining, using the funds to purchase the park’s family center will deplete most of the available resources.

“It’s very disappointing that the city’s had four years to come up with a funding source and only weeks before decided to drain a fund that was thoughtfully created by people sitting in this room,” said Emma Clust, the president of the Meridian Kessler Neighborhood Association.

A city spokesperson sent a statement, in part, “The choice to support the purchase of the Broad Ripple Park Family Center is a measure of fiscal responsibility that furthers the Hogsett administration’s commitment to strengthening the Indy Parks System.”

Joe Glass, executive director and general counsel of the Indianapolis Bond Bank, was questioned by the committee what the initial source of funding would be. He was unable to provide a clear response.

“So, I can’t speak to what was imagined several years ago but that was the determination that was made in the last several months.”

Regarding the initial intentions to finance the purchase of the park’s family center, a few councilors expressed opposition.

“The way this has been put together, just seems pretty ridiculous that a better plan wasn’t already in place,” said Jared Evans, a Democrat councilor. “This is not a good situation that any of us want to be put in, to have to oppose neighborhoods and constituents all across the city. But, many of us are also in a situation where we are impacted if we don’t vote ‘yes’ and pass this in our own parks and I do not appreciate it.”

In the end, the committee unanimously recommended that the plan be approved.

The City-County Building will host the council meeting on Monday at 7 p.m.




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