Indy Eleven could play soccer at IUPUI for 20 years

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Indy Eleven could play soccer at IUPUI for 20 years under an amended state Senate bill designed to give the team a long-term home.

The amendment by Brandt Hershman, R-Buck Creek, calls for allowing Indiana University to issue as much as $20 million in bonds to fix up the aging track venue used last year by the Eleven in its first season.

Hershman's amendment was first reported by WISH-TV Channel 8.

The original bill was written to allow tax dollars to support a new, $82 million stadium downtown. Team owner Ersal Ozdemir, Mayor Greg Ballard and other supporter have pushed hard for a new stadium, with a Statehouse rally held as recently as Thursday.

But on the same day as the rally, Senate Pro Tempore repeated hesitance he expressed in February, saying there are greater priorities than the stadium. The House voted 73-21 on Feb. 25 in favor of a bill backing a new facility.

The original Senate bill called for a new stadium to be funded with sales and ticket taxes generated at the 18,500-seat facility as well as tax revenue from a luxury hotel Ozdemir is converting from the Illinois Building at Market and Illinois streets downtown.

Opponents complain too much risk falls on taxpayers and that the taxes could be better spent on improving streets and other uses.

The amendment is scheduled for a vote Tuesday in the Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee, which Hershman chairs.

The amendment calls for the Eleven to commit to 20 years at the renovated stadium.

Built in 1982 and named for a late civic leader, Michael A. Carroll Stadium seats 12,000, and has hosted the 2006 and 2007 USA Track and Field Championships among other amateur competitions.

If renovated in line with the amendment, the stadium would have capacity for 18,000.

Last year, the Eleven sold out all 15 games at an average attendance of about 10,500. The attendance was among the highest in the North American Soccer League, which is a tier down from Major League Soccer.

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