WESTFIELD, Ind. (AP) — Officials in an Indianapolis suburb that’s home to the Colts’ summer training camp agreed to pay about $1.1 million over three years toward the NFL team’s hotel rental, according to records.
Contract documents obtained by The Indianapolis Star through a records request show Westfield officials committed to paying half of the hotel rental bill last year while publicly saying that no city incentives would be used to help lure the Colts. The team is leasing a 152-room Cambria Suites for roughly 30 days each summer to accommodate players, coaches and staff.
The Colts announced in September that they planned to move the team’s training camp to the suburb’s 400-acre Grand Park sports campus. The team’s contract to lease the campus said it would pay the city $653,000 over 10 years. The city was positioned to make an estimated $190,000 per year from parking, food and beverage sales.
Todd Burtron, chief of staff to Mayor Andy Cook, said the contract isn’t misleading and that technically city funds aren’t being used. Money from Hamilton County’s tourism bureau, Visit Hamilton County, will cover the cost, he said.
The tourism bureau gave the city a $313,000 grant to pay for locker rooms at the Grand Park facility, Burtron said. That money will instead be used to help fund the team’s hotel stay this year and city funds were used to cover the locker room expenses, he said.
The bureau was interested in helping pay for a long-term amenity that would be used by others beyond the Colts, said Visit Hamilton County President Brenda Myers. She said she doesn’t plan to audit or protest how the city used the grant. She also said the bureau hasn’t yet approved any money for Westfield in 2019 or 2020, but wouldn’t rule it out.
“I know the lockers are built because we saw them,” she said. “As long as the project got done, then we feel like the goal was accomplished.”
Information from: The Indianapolis Star, http://www.indystar.com