Deal close on Regional Operations Center repairs

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The city says it's close to a settlement agreement on safety repairs at the evacuated Regional Operations Center (ROC) that could put police officers back to work there.

Talk of a deal comes after a busy weekend that put the city and its displaced emergency operations to the test.

Last Friday night, downtown Indianapolis was in a full frenzy. From the bright lights at Lucas Oil Stadium, where high school football championships were being held, to Monument Circle and Bankers Life Fieldhouse, public safety workers were busy.

"85,000 to 100,000 people downtown for the Circle of Lights, and then you have a fully sold out Pacers game and football was going on at the same time.  You have a lot of people downtown," explained Gary Coons, Indianapolis Homeland Security Chief.  

Behind the scenes, emergency operations under the spotlight with officers displaced by unsafe conditions from the city's $18 million Regional Operations Center, known as the ROC.

"In all, it tested our plan. It really tested it out to see what, or were we going to have any gaps, were we going to have any issues," said Coons.

Working in more cramped quarters at the Indianapolis Airport and MECA Communications Building, Coons calls it a workable contingency plan, and one that will likely be in place until spring of next year.

13 Investigates has learned the city and managing property owner Alex Carroll are expected to sign off on a settlement deal this week after a seven-week long evacuation and stalemate over safety repairs inside in the old Eastgate Consumer Mall.

The city said the property owner should pay for the repairs but Carroll says the city signed a deal that put taxpayers on the hook for maintenance costs.  That lease deal is now at the center of a special investigation by the City-County Council.

Even with an agreement, Public Safety Spokesman, Al Larsen said IMPD East District and the City's Homeland Security won't move back in until the end of March, when all repairs are completed. 

"It's always a challenge but you know we make it through it," said Coons now turning his sights on the Big 10 football Championships this coming weekend.

City public safety told 13 Investigates, the agency is looking to sign an agreement this week to settle the ROC dispute.

By the time police move back in next year, they could have new glaring neighbors.   Alex Carroll signed another deal to bring a 4-mega watt solar farm to an adjacent parking lot.   Solar panels mounted on high poles and steel rafters will create carports on that side of the building.