Mayor speaks about libraries, Pacers - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Mayor speaks about libraries, Pacers

Updated:
The Pacers are looking for help at Conseco Fieldhouse. The Pacers are looking for help at Conseco Fieldhouse.
Six libraries may close if the Library Board doesn't get financial help. Six libraries may close if the Library Board doesn't get financial help.
Mayor Greg Ballard Mayor Greg Ballard
INDIANAPOLIS -

Richard Essex/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - The Marion County Library and the Indiana Pacers are both asking for help that could amount to millions of dollars, but finding the funds is the real question.

Mayor Greg Ballard says both are getting a lot of attention. The Library Board is getting efficiency experts free of charge from the city and the Pacers are asking for money.

"They are looking for an annual stipend," Ballard said.

The Pacers don't pay rent at Conseco Fieldhouse, but collect fees from events held in the building. Now, they are asking the city for more. They want a new floor, new kitchen equipment and want the city to take over operation of the arena.

"If they leave, somebody has to run the building. The [Capital Improvement Board] has to run the building anyway, so it might be more frugal, since we know how to get, you know, we are very efficient in how we do business," the mayor said.

The yearly operating cost of the Fieldhouse is $15 million, money Cindy Burton of the Marion County Alliance of Neighborhood Associations would like to see go to libraries.

"I know just people that have commented to me in passing was, 'You know, we all love the Pacers, like to cheer for the home team, but that the libraries needed to have that attention first'," Burton said.

The Library Board has said without more money, they will be forced to close six branches, nearly a quarter of the libraries in the city. But the library isn't going anywhere. On the other hand, the Pacers are threatening to pack up and leave.

"Oh, it is. It is no question about it, but I have always said, I would like them to stay, but it has to be a good deal for the city," Ballard said. "And I mean that. It has to be a good deal for the city."

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