The push to build a new Indy Eleven stadium has been dealt a setback, as the state legislative session adjourned last week without approval of a plan.
Indy Eleven announced in late January that it was submitting a bid to become an MLS expansion franchise. While the NASL organization moved forward with entering the mix expansion process and announced that a new stadium could come as a result, the question that lingered was whether the state would ultimately back a facility.
The Indiana General Assembly was in session until last week as it worked to pass the state’s biennial budget. After weeks of concern over whether a stadium bill could be introduced before the session ended, legislators adjourned without addressing the stadium.
Officials are now stating that private discussions took place with Indy Eleven owner Ersal Ozdemir about the possibility of a private-public partnership for a new stadium, with the proposal including a special district that would capture state sales and income tax revenue. That pitch appears seems to have been met with a varied reaction among state and city officials. More from the Indianapolis Business Journal:
Thomas Cook, [Indianapolis mayor Joe] Hogsett’s chief of staff, said Hogsett supports the idea of a downtown soccer stadium providing it does not require a city tax increase to fund stadium construction or any money from the city’s general fund.
Instead, said Cook, Hogsett favors a state law that allows the City-County Council to set up a professional sports district where primarily state taxes are captured for the construction of the stadium. Cook said the mayor is willing to discuss having the city’s Capital Improvement Board own the new stadium if construction funds can be secured.
“We’re still willing to discuss what we can do creatively to put the city in a position to secure a Major League Soccer franchise,” Cook said.
[State senator Luke] Kenley seems much less bullish on the proposition.
“It didn’t seem like to me it all added up,” he said. “I didn’t think the [Eleven’s] presentation was well thought out.”
Kenley also said the latest proposal was disappointing because Ozdemir and the city didn’t seem to be putting much money into the project. Cook said the team is willing to contribute $10 million.
Indy Eleven plays its home games at Michael A. Carroll Stadium, a facility that is not up to MLS standards. The club was one of 12 entities to submit an MLS expansion bid in late January, and it had made a previous expansion push in 2015 that ultimately stalled when state funding could not be obtained for a stadium.
RELATED STORIES: Indy Eleven Still Waiting for State Backing on Stadium; Indy Eleven Stadium Plan Needs State Support; Ozdemir: Now or Never for for Indianapolis MLS Team; Indy Eleven Entering MLS Expansion Mix