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Many steps ahead before tax district for MLS stadium comes to fruition

Indianapolis steps closer to new tax area for MLS stadium

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indianapolis City-County Council on Monday told one of its committees to review a proposal to create boundaries for a tax district that would advance Mayor Joe Hogsett’s bid for a Major League Soccer team.

The council’s action was the first since the Democratic mayor announced on April 25 that the city will seek an MLS expansion team. The tax district would be downtown near the Virginia Avenue Parking Garage that’s connected to Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

The council sent to its Rules and Public Policy Committee the proposal to create what in state law is called a Professional Sports Development Area for the MLS stadium proposal. The Rules and Policy Committee will meet at 5:30 p.m. May 28. That meeting will be the only opportunity for public comment, the council says.

If the committee gives the proposal a “do pass” recommendation, it could be voted on by the full council at its meeting that starts at 7 p.m. June 3.

The last time the council approved this type of tax district, for the Eleven Park soccer stadium project, the proposal was sent to the Metropolitan and Economic Development Committee.

Council President Vop Osili, a Democrat, said the decision to change committees stemmed from a state law that requires 10 days of notice for public hearings. He says the Rules and Policy Committee will have the only opportunity for public comment and was the first that fit the 10-day requirement.

A separate government body, the Metropolitan Development Commission (MDC), has appointed members. The Metropolitan Development Commission had sent the MLS stadium site’s tax proposal to the City-County Council for approval. If the council approves the tax district, the proposal will head back to the Metropolitan Development Commission before it is sent to the state for final approval.

Osili said people should remember that “the importance of public engagement and going through the process and wanting to respect the MDC.

“The MDC, they sent that to us. Honestly, we should be looking at it and engaging with the public and giving them an opportunity to weigh in,” the Democratic council president said.

Asked if the proposal has enough support to pass the full council, Osili said he could not answer the question.

The mayor’s April announcement meant the city has cut ties with plans for the other soccer stadium development, Eleven Park.

Republican Brian Mowery, the council’s minority leader, said Monday he was concerned with the committee change, and the lack of transparency about the city’s shift away from Eleven Park.

“We want to make sure the city is seen as a city that negotiates and operates in a transparent and good faith way,” Mowery said. “We are hoping to learn more from the administration in the coming days and do what’s best for Indianapolis.”


The Keystone Group, which owns the Indy Eleven, released a statement ahead of Monday night’s meeting

“Indy Eleven and its development team are incredibly disappointed in President Osili’s unprecedented decision to deny the City-County Council’s Metropolitan and Economic Development Committee an opportunity to fairly judge the out-of-state brokerage proposal that continues to be shrouded in mystery. That same committee supported Eleven Park unanimously in December, and the Mayor’s Office itself has recently confirmed it is the appropriate venue for such a project.

“Along with so many in the Indianapolis business community, we remain concerned that these continuing efforts to bend Council rules to the will of the executive branch threatens both the future of Eleven Park and the future of economic development in our state’s capital city. It would be our sincere hope that President Osili will commit to his constituents and colleagues that he will respect the Council as an independent branch of government, and not make additional changes clearly aimed at bypassing long-standing protocols for the legislative process.”

The Keystone Group, which owns the Indy Eleven, ahead of a May 13, 2024, meeting of the Indianapolis City-County Council

Tonight, with the introduction of the proposal to create a new soccer-specific stadium site near the downtown heliport, Indianapolis takes the next step in the process by which we can secure a Major League Soccer expansion club for our community. I am grateful for the leadership of President Osili and look forward to continued conversations with City-County Councilors, downtown stakeholders, and our community members over the coming weeks as we build an application that sends a clear message to MLS: Indianapolis is a major league city.

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, a Democrat