A bill that includes funding for a proposed Indy Eleven stadium has been approved by the Indiana General Assembly, marking a major step for the plans.
Earlier this year, Indy Eleven unveiled the proposed Eleven Park—a mixed-use development that would be anchored by a new 20,000-seat stadium. The proposal includes plans for $400 million in privately financed mixed-use development, with the club–which currently competes in Division II USL Championship, but has had MLS ambitions for years–seeking a public funding contribution for a new stadium that is estimated to cost $150 million.
On Tuesday, the Indiana Senate helped move those plans forward by voting 44-4 to approve a bill that would allow taxes collected within the development to cover the public’s 80% share of the stadium cost. The legislation, which also creates funding for Bankers Life Fieldhouse renovations, now heads to the desk of Indiana governor Eric Holcomb for his decision. Additional steps at the local level would need to be completed down the road to bring the stadium proposal to fruition. More from the Indianapolis Star:
Under the legislation, taxes collected from that development would pay back 80 percent of the cost of the stadium. The Indy Eleven would have to pay the other 20 percent, either up front or annually, and cover any shortfalls.
There’s still a ways to go before a stadium becomes a reality. The City-County Council will have to approve any deal to fund the stadium.
Notably, the bill approved by the Senate on Tuesday upholds the Indianapolis House of Representatives’ decision to strip a requirement that the stadium house an MLS team. When senators approved an earlier version of the bill in February, it contained several contingencies, including one that called for Indy Eleven to join MLS by 2022, but the House removed that stipulation as part of its approval earlier this month.
Still, even with that contingency no longer in place, expect Indy Eleven to remain firmly in the mix among intriguing MLS expansion candidates, particularly if it can further solidify stadium plans. While it remains to be seen how it will stand out among competition for future MLS expansion slots, momentum in terms of political support for a new stadium combined with a bolstering of the club’s investor group are certainly helpful developments.
The following statement was posted to Indy Eleven’s website after Tuesday’s vote:
With Senate Bill 7 now headed to the Governor’s desk, we are ready to kick off a new era for Indy Eleven professional soccer and the world’s most popular sport in Indiana – with no new taxes and no appropriations from city or state governments.
This is the latest step in the legislative process. With the Governor’s signature, we can continue along the path to fully capturing this one-in-a-generation opportunity to secure the future of the world’s game in our capital city.
Eleven Park is grateful to Senate President Pro Tempore Rod Bray and the bill’s Senate authors; Sen. Ryan Mishler, Sen. Travis Holdman, and Sen. Jack Sandlin, and co-authors; Sen. Jean Breaux and Sen. Jon Ford, and the bill’s House sponsors; Rep. Todd Huston, Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer, Rep. Gregory Porter, and Rep. Dave Heine, all of whom have provided leadership and guidance as the bill has moved through the legislative process.
Senate Bill 7, which includes enabling language for Eleven Park has now passed through the House of Representatives and the State Senate and will become law when it is signed by Governor Eric Holcomb.
Rendering courtesy Indy Eleven.
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