Democratic Leader voices opposition to soccer stadium

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – There is opposition to public financing for a downtown soccer stadium.

Democrats in the Indiana House of Representatives feel blindsided by the proposal to let the Indy Eleven capture the sales and ticket tax money it generates to help pay off an $87 million stadium.

House Minority Leader Scott Pelath said Friday that it’s a sign of misguided Republican priorities.

The Ways and Means committee approved a plan Thursday that would permit the Indy Eleven to team up with the Capital Improvment Board to build a multi-purpose facility.  The new professional team will play this year in Carroll Stadium at IUPUI and is eyeing the possibility of a new stadium on the site of the abandoned GM Stamping Plant.

Pelath criticized both GOP leaders and Indy Eleven owner Ersal Ozdemir, in part, because Democrats weren’t consulted before the plan surfaced.

“Yet another very rich man came in with a big wad of bills in his pocket,” said Pelath, “and stuck his hand out for more taxpayer money to build yet another sports venue.”

Pelath says some of his opposition is based on a lack of meaningful economic development proposals in the General Assembly this year.

“That’s not economic development, that’s not vision,” he said.  “That’s just another place for people to sit on their duffs while the dessert cart rolls by.”

Nevertheless, there were Democrats who voted for the stadium bill in committee.  It will come up for a vote on the House floor next week.

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