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UPDATE: City's Super Bowl preparation on track

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Indianapolis is making progress on the way to its debut as a Super Bowl city, NFL executive Frank Supovitz said Friday afternoon.

“Our plans are ahead of schedule, realistic and fully funded,” he told reporters after his trip to evaluate the city's preparations for the 2012 Super Bowl. It was his first visit to Indianapolis since last June.

So far, so good.

The private donors who pledged $25 million to cover host-city expenses are making their third payment later this month,  local committee Chairman Mark Miles said. And by the end of June, he expects to have a $1 million reserve fund established for the youth-development initiatives that will take place at Arsenal Tech High School during Super Bowl week.

Plans for construction of a Super Bowl Village downtown have been “turbo charged,” Miles said, thanks to an $8 million federal grant that will help fund a $12.5-million transformation of Georgia Street between the Indiana Convention Center and Conseco Fieldhouse. Some of that money also will used to rehabilitate City Market.

The Super Bowl is estimated to bring 150,000 visitors to the Circle City, Supovitz said, including vendors and other businesses tied to the big game.

He did not address the one major issue hanging over the 2012 Super Bowl: The collective bargaining agreement between the league’s players and owners, which expired after last season. That contract included a provision to play the upcoming season without a salary cap.

The league’s 32 team owners have said that if a new deal with players is not worked out by August 2011, the players likely will be locked out. Owners are asking players for significant salary and contract concessions. If the issue is not resolved before the 2011-12 season begins, the season and Super Bowl could be delayed or even cancelled.

The NFL has already awarded Super Bowl to New Orleans in 2013 and East Rutherford, N.J., in 2014.

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