INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — There will be no new soccer stadium in downtown Indianapolis under a plan unveiled Friday in the state Senate.
However, there will be a place for the Indy Eleven to play.
A state Senate committee will vote on Tuesday on the plan that calls for a $25 million renovation of Carroll Stadium on the IUPUI campus, where the Indy Eleven currently play their games.
Hopes for a shiny, new soccer stadium dimmed Thursday when Senate GOP Leader David Long said he was looking for alternatives.
“Senator Hershman has been assigned the job of working on it and he has some ideas,” Long said.
The main idea from Brandt Hershman is to renovate Carroll Stadium, where the Indy Eleven played its first season, to both expand and improve it.
He released an amendment Friday that calls for $20 million in state funding and $5 million in city funding to turn it into an 18,000 seat facility.
“It’s a reduced cost to the taxpayer (and) reduced risk,” Hershman said. “It increases the flexibility for use of the facility by a variety of entities.”
And it guarantees state ownership, something that will alleviate fears from lawmakers in both parties who had doubts about a new stadium.
“We’re gonna have to look at it sensibly and the taxpayers deserve to know that they’re gonna get a return on their investment,” said House Minority Leader Scott Pelath. “We may not quite be there yet.”
At a Thursday rally at the Statehouse, Indy Eleven owner Ersal Ozdemir said he would consider other options.
“We’re open to discussions and alternatives basically that make sense,” he said.
But it now appears that Carroll Stadium may be the only option available.
The bottom line is that Hershman is proposing an 18,000 seat stadium for $25 million compared to the $82 million the Indy Eleven proposed.
It will be sold as a plan that is good for soccer fans and for taxpayers.
A committee vote is expected Tuesday.