By Hope Shrum
INDIANAPOLIS—A bill extending the date for Indy Eleven and the city of Indianapolis to finalize plans to build a new soccer stadium has just one final step to become law.
Since Senate Bill 385 passed through both chambers without any amendments, it will be heading straight to Gov. Eric Holcomb to sign into law. The law passed during its final reading in the House Thursday.
Rep. Mike Speedy, R-Indianapolis, was one of the bill’s sponsors in the House. He briefly talked about the bill before its final vote.
“As a result of the economic slowdown in the hospitality and sports industries caused by the pandemic and how the government has responded to the pandemic, the city of Indianapolis believes it’s appropriate to push back that start date to two years from now,” Speedy said.
The Indy Eleven and the city of Indianapolis were supposed to create a new professional sports development area, or PSDA, by July 1, 2022—as outlined in SB 7, which passed into law in 2019. Now, SB 385 gives them until July 1, 2024, to establish a new PSDA.
During SB 385’s final reading in the House, Rep. Justin Moed, D-Indianapolis, questioned Speedy about why the Indy Eleven needs another two years when it has been trying to build the stadium for nearly a decade.
Speedy said that’s why SB 7 was made—to get the formal process started by creating a new PSDA.
“They started those negotiations once the bill was finalized in 2019,” Speedy said. “Their efforts have been ongoing beyond that.”
Moed asked Speedy if he supports “delaying the government accountability in this bill” by two years because of the “pandemic’s impact on their ability to build the stadium.”
Speedy replied that he supports moving the deadline so the Indy Eleven can “accomplish what they sought to accomplish in Senate Bill 7.”
The bill passed with 83 of the 89 voting representatives saying “yes,” including Moed.
Hope Shrum is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.