There have been rumblings in the blogosphere that the immensely popular Gym Rats Basketball program may leave the Fort for Indianapolis at the end of it’s 2010 contract. Â You may download an “unofficial” recollection of the history of Speice Fieldhouse Â from Fort Wayne Politics, by clicking here. Â This “unofficial” recollection has this disclaimer, “The details above are my unofficial recollection as an integral part of the facility since 2000, and are not an official documentationÂ of facts or events. Anne Davis, 12/1/08.” Â Shortly before this sentence, in the timeline provided, Anne Davis is identified as an owner of the Spiece Fieldhouse – yet not official?
Part of this document, bears some examination:
The FWCVB has been a supportive ally to Gym Rats, but no other support has been give to Gym Rats by the City of Fort Wayne. The only requests made were sidewalks and interstate signage to better accommodate the out ofÂ town traffic.
What other support is wanted or expected from the City? Â That’s a pretty heavy statement to throw out there. Â And yet, the document admits that only two requests were made.
Sidewalks? Â I’m sorry, but I don’t see how sidewalks are going to make or break a business in that location.
Interstate signage? Â What exactly is meant by interstate signage? Â Are you talking about those huge blue signs that list various venues and businesses along the interstate?
According to the INDOT website, these fall under the purview of this agency/business. Â Nothing to do with the City. Â If you’re talking about some signage that would be visible from the interstate, I don’t think that would necessarily fall under the City’s purview. Â What would that be the City’s responsibility to pay for and erect?
I’m not defending the City here, but what exactly is required of the City in this situation? Â What can the City do that would help to insure Gym Rats stays in Fort Wayne? Â If the only requests made of the City were the two items mentioned, is the City supposed to be a mind reader and know what assistance is required? Â Has the organization called anyone in City government for assistance or to brainstorm? Â
The bigger question is, why is Gym Rats considering the move? Â Is it something that the community can come together and fix?
Again, from the document:
It is my opinion that the Fort Wayne community does not understand the magnitude of what SpieceÂ Fieldhouse brings to our city. While I am an insider of the facility, I am only invested in Spiece Fitness, andÂ do not hold any interest in the building or Gym Rats basketball. I simply take this opportunity to educate you and others in the community, so that one day we may give Spiece Fieldhouse the recognition it deservesÂ and ensure this fabulous asset remains in our city.
Honestly? Â Tell us what we can do to keep the fabulous asset in our city. Â Tell the City government what it can do to ensure it remains. Â I think people do have an idea of the impact of Spiece Fieldhouse and the Gym Rats program. Â But, no one can help you without some clear indications of what it is you require
Added @ 11:25 am:
City consultants have more than once mentioned Spiece Fieldhouse as the kind of attraction Fort Wayne should do more to promote and duplicate – especially downtown.
Ironic, considering owner Tom Spiece doesn’t think much of Harrison Square or other taxpayer-subsidized development projects.
[…] “I wouldn’t take any subsidies. It’s not government’s job to support me,” said Spiece, whose love of Indiana University basketball is reflected in the jerseys and other cream-and-crimson memorabilia scattered throughout his sprawling 150,000-square-foot complex at 5310 Merchandise Drive. “I’m noncoercive. Economic progress is made only when there’s a willing exchange between buyer and seller.”
Thanks to Kevin Knuth for the heads-up.
Possible Loss for City – The Spiece Fieldhouse – Beach Volleyball in Fort Wayne
– Fort Wayne Politics