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Exterior of the City-County Buliding

Source: (Photo: Chris Davis/WIBC)

INDIANAPOLIS — It came and went rather quickly at Monday’s meeting of the Indianapolis City-County Council.

Councilors simply introduced a proposal from Council President Vop Osili on behalf of Mayor Joe Hogsett to approve a new tax district with hopes of building a new soccer-specific stadium. The end game is to attract an MLS expansion franchise to the city.

The Metropolitan Development Commission, which is made up of civilian experts on city planning, approved boundaries for a tax district to support Eleven Park last year. On May 1, the same commission approved a new set of boundaries for a different tax district where the Indianapolis Heliport currently sits.

The second proposal, which was introduced on Monday, is described as supporting a project to consist of “a soccer-specific stadium that will be the permanent home of one or more professional soccer teams,” according to the commission’s planning documents.

Usually, the next step in the process is for the Metropolitan Development Commission to approve the MLS stadium proposal. But, Osili said public comment is important on this issue and because of a state law there needs to be a 10-day waiting period before a committee meeting for public comment to take place.

Instead, the MLS proposal will be heard by the Rules and Public Policy Committee, which is chaired by Osili.

“Up until Friday, there was no sponsor and we need a 10-day notice for a public hearing, and so the next available one was Rules,” Osili said.

If approval comes in committee the group of investors backing the city’s MLS bid would decide which set of tax district boundaries to take to the State Budget Committee for approval.

Keystone Group, which is behind Eleven Park, is crying foul about the change in committee process for the MLS stadium proposal. They released the following statement:

“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.  

Republicans on the council are not too happy with how the situation regarding Eleven Park has played out either.

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

Many Democrats on the council, namely Councilor Kristin Jones, are also refusing to support the MLS proposal.

The earliest the City-County Council could give its blessing on the boundaries they choose could be as soon as June 3rd. They have until June 30th to get a proposal to the State Budget Office for it’s approval.

As for Eleven Park, the city is reiterating that its association with the project is over regardless of what happens with either of the MLS proposals now before the council.

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