Spiece Fieldhouse/Gym Rats Basketball

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.  You may download an “unofficial” recollection of the history of Speice Fieldhouse  from Fort Wayne Politics, by clicking here.  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 documentation of facts or events. Anne Davis, 12/1/08.”  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 of town traffic.

What other support is wanted or expected from the City?  That’s a pretty heavy statement to throw out there.  And yet, the document admits that only two requests were made.

Sidewalks?  I’m sorry, but I don’t see how sidewalks are going to make or break a business in that location.

Interstate signage?  What exactly is meant by interstate signage?  Are you talking about those huge blue signs that list various venues and businesses along the interstate?

Interstate signage, rendering taken from: https://www.indianalogo.com/.

According to the INDOT website, these fall under the purview of this agency/business.  Nothing to do with the City.  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.  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?  What can the City do that would help to insure Gym Rats stays in Fort Wayne?  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?  Has the organization called anyone in City government for assistance or to brainstorm?  

The bigger question is, why is Gym Rats considering the move?  Is it something that the community can come together and fix?

Again, from the document:

My objective…

It is my opinion that the Fort Wayne community does not understand the magnitude of what Spiece Fieldhouse brings to our city. While I am an insider of the facility, I am only invested in Spiece Fitness, and 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 deserves and ensure this fabulous asset remains in our city.

Honestly?  Tell us what we can do to keep the fabulous asset in our city.  Tell the City government what it can do to ensure it remains.  I think people do have an idea of the impact of Spiece Fieldhouse and the Gym Rats program.  But, no one can help you without some clear indications of what it is you require

Added @ 11:25 am:

From a News-Sentinel article:

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.

Blogosphere posts:
Possible Loss for City – The Spiece FieldhouseBeach Volleyball in Fort Wayne
Spiece In Danger Of Closing – Is City Government To Blame?Fort Wayne Politics


  1. She’s busy, I believe, today.

    My other landlord (River City) definitely has let the city know what’s going on with situations that arise. He writes letters that go unanswered… one of my customers that worked for the city in my early days at RC before I dealt directly with him pointed him out as a pest. She said he’d been coming down for about 2 weeks straight early in the morning and he’d wait and then come in and complain about the same damn thing all the time. I don’t remember what department she worked for…

  2. Thanks for the response, Mike. I really meant the post to be positive and I think I speak for many when I say we can’t afford to let this happen. But, tell us what we can do. My blog is available – for what that’s worth. lol

  3. Jeff is going to talk to Anne and I on Sunday… but neither of us represent the Fieldhouse or certainly not the Gym Rats directly. The Spiece Fieldhouse, owned by Tom SPiece, is rented out to Spiece Fitness and the Gym Rats. Anne is one of the two owners of Spiece Fitness, with Tom Spiece being the other. I rent courts and have a new office there through Spiece Fitness. I think she has a good bead on what happens there though with all of them but would suggest they be talked directly to for the best answers.

    Since I’m more in touch with the local blogosphere maybe translating or interpreting is more my department. I feel safe in saying even from my distance that, good God, this isn’t like some ultimatum… produce signage and sidewalks or else… how petty.

    Jeff also mentioned things happening at River City in regards to talking to me but almost no one seems to give a crap about that. But my volleyball operation started and grew at River City and gets some good rent, exposure and memberships in support of Spiece Fitness. If the Gym Rats do leave and the Spiece Fieldhouse goes on without them I would try to up the ante on volleyball and youth volleyball tourneys there if they are open to it.


  4. By the way, can anyone help Emily? She says the city of FW mistakenly tore down her building and she can’t even get the dough back she laid down for it… Any ideas? Thanks…

    Comment #23


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