INDIANAPOLIS - The House Ways and Means Committee has approved a bill that would create a new soccer stadium in Indianapolis, with one major exception. Our partners at WIBC report the committee Monday removed the requirement that Indy Eleven receive a Major League Soccer franchise before the stadium could be built.

The Indy Eleven is currently a part of the United Soccer League and recently-proposed plans for a new stadium as part of the overall $550 million Eleven Park development. Senate Bill 7 would create a sports development area to capture taxes to help fund the facility, which would be owned by the Capital Improvement Board in Indianapolis. 

Representative Todd Huston (R-Fishers), who co-chairs the committee, said Monday that Major League Soccer wants to see stadiums in progress before granting expansion teams, according to WIBC. The version of SB 7 passed by the Senate earlier this year required the Indy Eleven to secure an MLS franchise in order to receive a new stadium. 

Senate Bill 7 also allows for renovations of Bankers Life Fieldhouse and extends the Indiana Pacers' lease at the arena. However, the committee removed a provision that would provide funding for two new Hilton hotels in downtown Indy as part of a $120 million expansion of the Indiana Convention Center. Huston said other funding options from the city would be available, according to the station.

Taylor Schaffer, deputy chief of staff for Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, released a statement following Monday's vote:

Today's display of unanimous support for Senate Bill 7 is another productive step forward toward a taxpayer-friendly vision for long-term funding of these critical assets. The Capital Improvement Board's facilities are an economic engine for our city and our state, and Mayor Joe Hogsett applauds the continued work of the Indiana General Assembly as we move closer to preserving the progress we've made over the last five decades without a single tax or fee increase on Hoosier taxpayers.

The bill now heads to the full House for consideration.