(Indianapolis-December 20, 2004) - The City of Indianapolis ispresenting the stadium deal with the Colts as an 'historic economicdevelopment project.' The stadium comes as the city expands theconvention center.
That sales pitch has been used before. It's reminiscent of theway Indianapolis presented the idea of the dome two decadesago.
A domed stadium was a dream for Indianapolis in the lateseventies. That dream even anticipated a monorail past the front ofthe dome. Designers were told this would not be purely a footballstadium.
Bill Hudnut, who was mayor at the time, said it would be amulti-purpose facility big enough for football if the city won afranchise. "We were expanding our convention center and our abilityto compete for a larger share of the nation's ... conventionbusiness," Hudnut wrote.
How to pay for it became an issue. Protesters objected to theone percent tax imposed on sales at Marion County restaurants.
"We feel that that's an imposition on people who must eat outas a necessity,â said Warren Spangle, IndianaRestaurant Association.
The opponents said the dome would be a white elephant. "Thefood and beverage tax may reach as high as five or six percent, sothey're preparing the people for cost overruns, already, only theywant to blame it on us. We don't want to see the stadium built atall,â said Jud Haggerty, Dome opponent.
The price did rise from an estimated $60 million to about $80million. The protesters, with their lawsuits, were able to delaythe project until the state supreme court interceded.
In 1982, the project moved ahead in an area of oldwarehouses. In 1984, Colts' owner Bob Irsay and Mayor Bill Hudnutdeclared the dome "home" for the Indianapolis Colts.
Did it pay off? Hudnut said convention planners startedmaking reservations for the dome before it was done. He also saidIndianapolis' convention business grew 385 percent after the domeopened.
UPDATE 10:45 P.M.: Many Indiana State Police dispatches were reporting accidents on major roads due to slick weather conditions Sunday night.
With some of the coldest nights of the season on the way, shelters are preparing for a rush of people trying to stay warm.
Christmas is just over two weeks away, but it came early for some very special kids in Hancock County.