INDIANNAPOLIS (WISH) - Tina Rogers opened her re-sale shop in Speedway less than a year ago just blocks from the iconic home of the Indy 500 and she can't wait for race day.
"Because of how many people are going to be on this side of town!" she said. "Just like all the merchants and people on this side of town."
Bill Norton owns an antique shop nearby and agrees race day is a big day for everyone.
"We're a five-minute walk from the front of the track," he said.
But the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is starting to show its age.
"IMS is an enormous, 100-year old facility. In addition to the many annual projects to maintain it, we need to make the Speedway more flexible, more modern and better positioned to attract more fans to IMS and Indiana," said IMS Corporation President and CEO Jeff Belskus.
State Senator R. Michael Young says he wants the public to help pay to make that happen.
"The Speedway's been a great neighbor," said Young. "Now they're facing competition we've got our race, the Brickyard 400, for example, in the hottest time of the year, ticket sales are diving."
His proposal: to make the speedway an Indiana Motorsports Investment District. That would allow IMS to capture up to $5 million a year generated from state sales, income, and corporate taxes at the speedway. IMS would put up $2 million of its own money a year over a 20-year period to pay off bonds for potential improvements.
The potential list of projects includes high definition video boards, LED scoring and information boards, technological upgrades designed for increased fan communication, structural renovations to the stands, upgrades to seating and restrooms, and infrastructure improvements to parking, tunnels, gates, and fan access points.
Another potential project: the installation of lights for night events.
"Lights are actually something that would open up a window for when we could run," said Doug Boles, IMS Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Communications. "Right now we have a hard stop when it gets dark you can't run anymore. It also gives us some flexibility to potentially run on a Saturday night instead of Sunday during the day."
"They've (IMS) put in millions of dollars every year," said Young. "What they can't do is do the regular maintenance and then put in this enormous cost for the lights, and in order to do that they've asked for some help."
"It just gives us an ability to advance a lot of things we'd like to do to get the facility to be more competitive, to enhance the fan experience, and it's something that I don't think we could do without some initiative like this," said Boles.
Bill Norton owns an antique shop nearby and says he's okay with it as long as the money's used the right way.
"If they use it to enhance the track, bring race fans into the community and it'll bring business," said Norton.
Boles said 6,100 jobs are directly or indirectly related to IMS or INDYCAR racing and contribute nearly $300 million each year to the Indiana economy.
"So we really believe that we continue to give back to the community through our jobs, through our events," said Boles. "So we're hoping the community will embrace us as we move through this process."
IMS officials said the proposal would not financially impact the local school funding formula because it would not be funded through property tax collections.
Young's proposal will be introduced to the legislature Monday. It will get a hearing on Thursday morning.
A winter weather advisory was issued for Wayne, Union, Switzerland, Ripley, Ohio, Franklin, Fayette and Dearborn counties on Saturday night.
IMPD officials say a 3-year-old boy has died after he was shot in the head Saturday evening.
With seventeen shopping days remaining, customers are steadily visiting gift stores along Mass Ave. in downtown Indianapolis.