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Eleven Park’s future still in question as city-county council considers Indy’s MLS prospects

INDIANAPOLIS — The future of Eleven Park and Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett’s counterproposal to build a Major League Soccer stadium are even more uncertain.

A city-county committee voted 6-4 Tuesday night in favor of a proposal to create a new “professional sports development zone” downtown. The proposal now goes to the full council for a vote on Monday.

Tuesday night’s committee meeting was filled with very tense discussions surrounding Hogsett’s latest efforts to bring an MLS soccer club to the Circle City. The meeting comes as the Indy Eleven continues work on a new football stadium just a few miles from the mayor’s proposed new site.

Hogsett wants to propose the helipad near Gainbridge Fieldhouse as a potential site for an MLS stadium. The proposal would provide for a special taxing district that could one day be used for that stadium.

“The city wants to have an MLS team,” City Council President Vop Osili said following Tuesday night’s decision. “It was the clearest and freest way to present this request.”

Much of the controversy stems from ongoing work already carried out at the Eleven Park site.

“A lot of people depend on the games for their mental health and well-being, and they feel like that’s being taken away from them,” Brickyard Battalion President David Ziemba said.

Dozens of Indy Eleven fans gathered at the committee meeting to share their support for the city’s minor league team.

“I’m pretty simple here, I’m a hands-on football player,” one Indy Eleven fan shared during a public comment. “I just wanted to kind of give some insight into who is affected by a ‘pivot.’

The developer of the Eleven Park site, Keystone Group, says the city walked away from a “good faith” agreement regarding Eleven Park.

“We didn’t have a deal, but we certainly had some sort of deal where we had a first revolution and everyone smiled and took a picture and now we have something where everything has changed” , said County Councilman Brian Mowery. said Tuesday evening after voting against the proposal.

Hogsett, however, denies these allegations. He previously explained to FOX59/CBS4 the complexities surrounding human remains at that site and the questions of where and how to relocate them played into his decision to push for a different site.

It also concerned a few people who spoke during the meeting’s public comment period.

“We don’t need a grave site to be mistreated,” one man said.

“I don’t care if you build this stadium at the heliport or if you build it at Greenlawn Cemetery,” another man said. “But you have to evacuate people.”

Most recently, last week, the city of Indianapolis proposed purchasing the nearly 20-acre Diamond Chain property from the Keystone Group.

The mayor’s proposal will now go before the city-county council for a vote Monday. Even if the council approves the downtown taxing district, it will need final approval from the state to move forward.

The mayor’s office previously said it would not advance the PSDA for Eleven Park, even if the new proposal did not pass a final vote.

Mayor Joe Hogsett issued the following statement after the committee’s decision Tuesday evening:

Tonight, our community engaged in an in-depth conversation about the future of soccer in Indianapolis and took another step toward pursuing the vision of bringing a Major League Soccer expansion club to our city .

I want to thank the passionate residents who shared their views this evening, as well as the members of the City-County Council Rules and Public Policy Committee for supporting Proposition 175 in a bipartisan manner, showing that they believe with the potential to consolidate our status as the largest sports city in the country. As this process moves forward, I look forward to continued conversations with city and county councilors, state leaders and members of our community as we work together – the Indianapolis way.

Joe Hogsett, Mayor of Indianapolis

Keystone Group also shared the following statement Tuesday evening:

We are encouraged by the unwavering support that Indy Eleven and Eleven Park received tonight and continue to receive.. Tonight’s meeting showed a troubling lack of detail from city officials as to why and how they made their decisions, and we hope the entire Council will stand up for its constituents and taxpayers and demand transparency then that Indianapolis is preparing to move away from its commitments to neighborhoods near the west.

Alexandra Miller, Keystone Group spokesperson