The Capital Improvement Board voted 5-2 to give the Indiana Sports Corp $500,000 grants for each of the next 10 years.
The money will be put in a reserve maintenance fund for work in the Natatorium.
Indiana Sports Corp President Allison Melangton says over the past five years the city has missed out on hosting between 10 and 15 swimming and diving events because of the facility’s condition.
"There are a number of things that are displeasing to the eye to start with," she said. "The heating, air conditioning, pool filtration system has challenges with it and I think those things effect athletes. We have absolutely had event organizers come to us and say 'we will not come back to Indianapolis until all these things are fixed.'"
Last month, the city and IUPUI announced a $30 million deal for street improvements through the IUPUI campus and renovations for the Natatorium. Funding from Indiana University and Lilly Endowment will pay for $20 million in repairs to the builiding, and the city is spending $10 million to make Michigan and New York streets into two-ways across campus and into the Haughville neighborhood.
City County Councilor Zach Adamson says having the city put another $5 million into a facility owned by the state, is too much.
"It ties into the other messaging that we are seeing that goes out and beyond this one particular issue, that there are unlimited funds for certain things, but when it comes to the basic running of our city, the tax payers are told time and time again, there isn't enough to fix your streets. There isn't enough money to hire more police," he said.
And he says the city is already contributing enough for the viability and strength IUPUI’s Natatorium.
"Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis sits on an enormous plot of non-taxable land," he said. "That's our part of this deal. The city foregoes millions of dollars in some of the most valuable land in the city in tax revenue we do not collect. So, that should be our share."
Capital Improvement Board President Ann Lathrop says attracting large events to facilities like the Natatorium is key in helping the city pay for other services.
"All those revenues along with the income tax dollars that are generated are all funneled right back in to the city of Indianapolis," she said. "I think that without us, the budget problem would be probably worse because I believe that we are a net contributor overall to not just the CIB, but the city as a whole."