New Management Agency Possible for Indiana Convention Center

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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Indianapolis, IN – Budget negotiations in the Indiana Legislature include a proposal that would turn the oversight of the Indiana Convention Center over to a different government agency.

Tuesday, June 30, is the deadline for passage of the spending plan, which also includes funding for operations at the center. As of Friday, the lawmakers were still far from an agreement; however, a spokesman for the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association (ICVA) told Trade Show Executive that the budget would include continued funding for the convention center.

A critical sidebar to the budget talks is the fate of the Capital Improvement Board (CIB), which manages the convention center as well as Lucas Oil Stadium, Conseco Field House and Victory Field, a minor league baseball stadium. The CIB has been hit hard by a decline in funding from hotel room taxes and has projected a $47 million budget deficit in 2010.

While the ultimate effect of the new budget on operations and employment is unclear, the deficit could lead to an overhaul of the venue management structure in Indianapolis.

A proposal earlier this month by Gov. Mitch Daniels and Mayor Greg Ballard would fold the CIB into the Marion County Building Authority to create the Facilities Management Board of Marion County (FMB). The FMB membership would be increased by three members, one of whom would be appointed by the ICVA. The new agency would run the convention center and other arenas as well as public buildings that include parking garages and the Marion County Jail.

The plan also calls for $13 million in unspecified spending cuts and new efficiencies at the convention center and Lucas Oil Stadium. Another $4 million would be raised through an increase in the county hotel room tax from 9% to 10%.

Reach ICVA President & CEO Don Welsh at (317) 639-7579 or dwelsh@visitindy.com