A state Senate committee has rejected $82 million in state funding for a new Indy Eleven stadium, but went ahead with a lesser amount — $20 million — to renovate Carroll Stadium for the team.
Carroll Stadium is on the IUPUI campus and currently serves as home to the NASL team. The proposed new Indy Eleven stadium would be downtown.
The Tax & Fiscal Policy committee voted unanimously to reject the larger amount, saying that it was too high amount to be assumed by taxpayers. However, fixing up Carroll Stadium would be an investment in a public resource — the facility is multiuse, hosting track and field as well as college soccer — and lawmakers hinted that the NCAA would be more likely to use Carroll Stadium for events than a new Indy Eleven stadium. (Technically, of course, the NCAA had no comment on the issue.) One big drawback to the Carroll Stadium plan: it’s not very likely that the facility could be upgraded to the point where MLS is a potential upgrade for Indy Eleven owner Ersal Ozdemir. However, that’s not to say $20 million is the spending limit. Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard says his city may contribute to renovations as well, and the team may kick in money as well. From the Indianapolis Star:
Ozdemir said after the hearing that the vote was “a great step forward” and that the team would be talking with IU officials about how such a renovation might proceed.
Asked if he would use his own money for the project, Ozdemir said, “We’ve always said we want to be part of the solution. It’s just difficult to say, where we are now. We believe in this. If this works out to be beneficial for all involved, we will always be at the table.”
Indy Eleven debuted last season and sold out every game at Carroll Stadium, showing a passion for the sport in Indianapolis.
There’s still a long road before the funding is approved: both the full Senate and Assembly must approve the spending, and Gov. Mike Pence must sign the bill.