Wilt: 'Backstop' Strengthens Stadium Bill

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The president of Indy Eleven Professional Soccer says he remains "cautiously optimistic" that a bill to fund an $82 million stadium in downtown Indianapolis will be approved by the Indiana General Assembly. Peter Wilt says a "backstop" was added to the measure Monday to ensure enough tax revenue sources will be available. The bill is expected to be heard by the full House this week after receiving nearly-unanimous approval Monday from the Ways and Means Committee. During a Studio(i) interview, Wilt says the "results bear out" that the project could be successful. The amendment involves capturing innkeeper's tax proceeds from a new downtown hotel planned by Indy Eleven Owner and Keystone Construction Corp. Chief Executive Officer Ersal Ozdemir.

The bill is expected to face questions about potential risk when it reaches the full House.

Wilt believes this venue would fill a "gap" in central Indiana. He says it is being passed over for a number of sporting and non-sporting events. Wilt calls the stadium the "next stage" in Indianapolis' long history of using sports as an economic engine. He says international sports like soccer can help attract and retain young professionals.

Wilt says, if the stadium is approved, Indy Eleven plans to acquire rights to a professional women's soccer franchise, which would add 12 dates to the venue's schedule.

He says one of the main hurdles of the lobbying effort is to clear away perceptions of a separate bill proposed last year that cost more and included "quite a bit of risk." Wilt says the new bill has "eliminated" those risks.

You can view the full bill authored by State Representative Todd Huston (R-37) by clicking here.

Source: Inside INdiana Business