May 29, 2024

New sports development area approved for potential Major League Soccer team

The move has come with friction as the city turned away from a plan with Indy Eleven to build a soccer stadium for its minor league team on a different site. - File Photo / WFYI

The move has come with friction as the city turned away from a plan with Indy Eleven to build a soccer stadium for its minor league team on a different site.

File Photo / WFYI

This story was updated on 6/4/24.

A majority of the Indianapolis City-County Council voted to approve a new professional sports development area, or PSDA, at its meeting Monday night. The move paves the way for a potential Major League Soccer team to come to Indianapolis.

The vote was not along party lines. Councilors voted 16 to 8 with one abstention to allow the new site to move forward.  

Last week a City-County Council committee forwarded a proposal that approves the new PSDA.  

The move has come with friction as the city turned away from a plan with Indy Eleven to build a soccer stadium for its minor league team on a different site. Deputy Mayor Dan Parker acknowledged that.

“This has been an uncomfortable process but it has been one that has been on a fast track to do what is best for all the residents of the city of Indianapolis,” Parker said.

City leaders say now is the time to bring an MLS team to Indianapolis, as popularity of the sport grows in the U.S..

A PSDA collects tax revenue to help pay for a stadium, a move city officials say helps Indianapolis pitch an MLS team.

The other site, where Indy Eleven’s stadium project broke ground last year, was also approved as a PSDA. That property also happens to be the location of the city’s first public cemetery. That has become a sticking point for Eleven Park Developer Keystone Group and their plans.

Councilor Kristin Jones, whose district covers the original site, doesn't agree with the move.

“The Administration asked for an original PSDA fully knowing what those challenges were and this body agreed,” Jones said.

Deputy Mayor Judith Thomas said after a year of research and community conversation there are too many questions about the human remains for the stadium project to proceed there.

“That is the feedback that we've received from the community asking questions of what we are going to do,” Thomas said.

The Metropolitan Development Commission will need to give final approval to the proposal. If the measure is approved and the City of Indianapolis is awarded a team there would still be numerous steps before a stadium is built.

There is a June 30 deadline for the city to submit a proposed map to the state for the PSDA. 

Contact WFYI city government and policy editor Jill Sheridan at jsheridan@wfyi.org.

 

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