South Bend Cubs pitch improvements to state lawmakers
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WNDU) - A proposal to fund improvements in and around South Bend’s baseball stadium was laid out Thursday in Indianapolis.
That’s where state lawmakers are being asked to pitch in up to $100 million to the cause over the next 20 years, through a state program that promotes economic development around professional sports facilities.
$50 million would be set aside for maintenance and improvements at the stadium--$50 million would be used to do the same at other city-owned facilities in the vicinity of the stadium, including the Morris Performing Arts Center and the Century Center.
South Bend Cubs owner Andrew Berlin today spoke to members of the Indiana Senate Appropriations Committee in support of Senate Bill 326. “But I want you to know this is not just about baseball. You don’t have to be a baseball fan to be in favor of this legislation. It’s really about improving the city and using this as a tool to do so.”
During today’s presentation, Berlin did not mention adding an upper deck of seating at Four Winds Field, although an upper deck could clearly be seen in some of the renderings he included in his PowerPoint presentation. “I could go through an entire presentation showing how beautiful the stadium could look with the passage of this, but I leave it to your imagination at this time.”
South Bend already has a designated Professional Sports and Convention Development Area. The city is now allowed to capture up to $2 million a year in sales, income, and use taxes generated in that area, that would otherwise go to the state. Senate Bill 326 would allow the city to keep up to $5 million per year through 2044.
The first $2.5 million collected would be dedicated to stadium improvements and the next $2.5 million would be dedicated to the maintenance of improvement of other city owned facilities in the district boundaries.
“We’re not done dreaming in South Bend,” said South Bend Regional Chamber of Commerce CEO Jeff Rea told the committee. “We see the ballpark with the tremendous opportunity to continue to grow.”
No one spoke against SB 326, and it was unanimously passed out of committee by a vote of 13 to 0.
The measure now moves onto the Senate floor.
The request for more state involvement in the South Bend PSCDA came from a team owner who has invested more than $30 million of his own money on improvements in and around the ballpark.
The first author of the bill is Ind. Sen. Ryan Mishler, (R) Mishawaka.
Take a look at some of the renderings below:
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