Although 2019 has just begun, economic development is already dominating the Indiana news headlines. On the most recent (i) on Economic Development, Tim Cook and Katie Culp join Gerry Dick to discuss proposed projects such as Indy Eleven’s new stadium, critical issues to be addressed in the upcoming legislative session, and trends that will be crucial for Indiana’s economic success.
Indy Eleven Stadium
Indy Eleven has been pursuing a permanent location for years. After bouncing from IUPUI’s Carrol Stadium to Lucas Oil Stadium, the team may finally have found its home. A bill already in the works could help fund a new sports development area, which could help finance a new stadium. Cook and Culp agree that while the proposal is ambitious, it plays to our strengths and resonates with Indiana’s reputation as the “amateur sports capital of the world.”
Downtown Indianapolis Casino
The idea of a casino in downtown Indianapolis is not a new one, but the buzz is growing louder in 2019. Per its quality-of-place strategy, the city draws tourism dollars with its abundance of national conventions. Culp notes that other cities have seen great success linking their convention strategy with a casino presence, and that a casino could fund additional improvement projects. However, Cook questions, “Will be will there be too many cons associated with it that it can’t get the legislative and community support that it needs?”
Similar to the state’s Regional Cities Initiative, which was designed to help Indiana cities become an attractive workforce destination, Accelerate Indiana Municipalities is pushing for legislation to create “Investment Hubs” in 2019. These hubs would enable regional development officials to raise revenue on an ongoing basis to fund capital projects. Cook and Culp acknowledge this would be a much-needed tool in local governments’ tool belts; however, from the legislature approving the local taxes to the localities agreeing on the actual projects, the hurdles are many.
Hate Crime Legislation
Governor Holcomb has publicly vocalized support of a specific hate crimes law to protect defined classes of individuals. Cook and Culp believe this greatly impacts economic development and the state’s image nationwide. Culp states, “To be one of five states in the whole country that does not have this legislation is a real mark against us when it comes to securing new deals.” Cook adds that after discussing this issue for years, if legislation isn’t passed in 2019, it will begin to feel like RFRA all over again.
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