A bill that would provide $20 million to help expand and renovate Michael Carroll Track and Soccer Stadium at IUPUI for the Indy Eleven soccer team passed the Indiana Senate on Thursday.
House Bill 1273 would extend a sports and entertainment development area to include the stadium site and a new downtown Indianapolis hotel to be developed by the owner of Indy Eleven for the purpose of reinforcing stadium finances. Taxes paid within the zone would help pay for the stadium project.
The bill passed 46-3 and moves back to the House, which will consider changes made by the Senate.
The plan is expected to replace separate legislation first backed by the minor league soccer team and passed by the House that would have helped fund a new $82 million arena in an undetermined Indianapolis location. That plan did not make headway in the Senate.
“This is the sport of the future,” said Sen. Pete Miller, R-Avon, who sponsored the bill. He noted that Indianapolis has “a good track record with sports” and that the renovations would be a “great opportunity” for the state.
The Indy Eleven already plays at Carroll Stadium. But that was supposed to be just a temporary home for the team, which sold out every game last year in its first season.
“We are thrilled that the Senate’s vote today furthers our goal to secure a proper stadium for ‘the world’s game’ and all of its passionate supporters from across Indiana,” said Peter Wilt, president and general manager of Indy Eleven, in a written statement.
“The potential to partner with Indiana University to create a first-division-quality stadium that honors the rich heritage of soccer in the Hoosier state is being met with tremendous enthusiasm by our fans,” Wilt said.
The new plan has received support from the city, which hopes the venue can be used for multiple events.