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That would have made the issue public. Instead, a "building task force" created by the board authorized the request, Glass said. The letter is marked confidential and asks firms not to share its contents. On Thursday, The Star filed a formal request for the stadium designs under the state's open-records law. Asked why the letter was kept secret and why designs would not be released to the public, O'Connor said there was nothing wrong with commissioning the work in private.

At least one sports expert said it makes sense to work out conceptual designs before sealing a deal with a team. That way, officials know what they're getting into. Cleveland State University sports economist Mark Rosentraub added that Indianapolis' positioning was not uncommon in other cities. The article that you posted about funding the project with slot money was pretty much wishful thinking. The stadium project is linked with the expansion of the Indiana Convention Center.

The project will also be funded by an increase in the Marion County hotel tax, rental car tax, also the sale of special Colts vanity license plate, and future lottery tickets earmarked for the project. Source: IndyStar. The approval of the development agreement comes after the city reached a deal last week with the Colts on the lease, a separate agreement that ensures the Colts will stay until at least The development agreement does not call for a ticket tax -- and makes it almost impossible for the state to impose one.

If the state wants to try, the development agreement says, officials have to consult with several groups first, including the Indiana Pacers, the Indianapolis Indians, the city and hospitality groups. Even then, the Colts could break their lease if the ticket tax is imposed, said John Klipsch, executive director of the Indiana Stadium and Convention Center Building Authority. The page development agreement does everything from spelling out a construction timeline to saying when the Colts will seek an agreement with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles for a specialty team license plate.

The agreement requires a model of an actual stadium suite to be built by June 1 so the Colts could use it for marketing. The stadium seats also must be in place by March , to help the Colts sell tickets. Though the stadium will be game-ready by the start of the football season, the finishing touches, such as the last concession stands, are not expected to be complete until February Still more details are in the so-called "program" that complements the development agreement -- details such as the number of toilets.

The total could be as many as 1,, but there's no word yet on how many will be designated for each sex. There will be 10 to 13 escalators and 10 to 12 elevators for fans. The stadium will include a street-level team store and six levels. About 11 percent of the 63, seats will be roomier, club-level seats. Luxury suites will number from to The playing field will be 25 feet below street level. The stadium will be built with 15, tons of steel and , cubic yards of concrete, measuring up to 1.

That will make the new stadium twice the size of Conseco Fieldhouse. While the cheers at the RCA Dome were loud, the agreement between the city and the franchise marks only the start of what could be a contentious process. The debate over expanding gambling in Indianapolis began Sunday and will reach into the Statehouse as the legislature considers the plan when it reconvenes next month.

Sunday, Peterson and Irsay briefly set aside the potential political and practical hurdles facing the plan as they stood on the dome's artificial turf to announce their plans to ensure that Indianapolis' two-decade-long status as a National Football League city continues for a second generation.

The announcement before a sold-out game culminated two years of negotiations. The proposal calls for the city to build a 63,seat stadium, which could expand to seat 70,, in time for the NFL season. The team will sign a new year lease. Peterson has said the Convention Center would be expanded on the site that now houses the dome, while a new stadium would be built to the south.

In the face of criticism from those who oppose subsidizing a sports franchise, Peterson has argued that the team is key to the city's big-city image. That assertion could be bolstered if building a new stadium helps the city land a Super Bowl, a prize the NFL has awarded other cities that have built new stadiums. Peterson and his aides briefed Gov. Daniels, who recently expressed doubts about expanding gambling in Indiana, declined to comment on the plan Sunday. He said further details would be released today.

City officials also have said they'd solicit money from Hoosier businesses, spend some of the Capital Improvement Board's cash reserves and seek money from the state and federal governments. The board acts as landlord for the Convention Center and the city's sporting venues. Marion County GOP Chairman Michael Murphy, an Indiana House lawmaker from Indianapolis who was not briefed on the mayor's plan, said Peterson could have a tough time winning approval for anything resembling a Downtown casino.

Murray Clark said he was not sure the city had any other good options for finding the money needed to finance the proposal before the mayor's self-imposed, end-of-the-year deadline to seal a deal with the Colts. In addition, details to be released today could include a provision reducing the city's obligation to make annual payments to the Colts beginning in to keep them playing here. Without a new lease, the team could leave Indianapolis after the season, and possibly earlier. The Convention Center expansion would be paid for with higher restaurant, hotel, stadium admission and auto rental taxes, as well as by lifting the cap on a special taxing district that captures sales, income and other taxes generated by the city's major sporting venues, said House Ways and Means Chairman Jeff Espich, R-Uniondale.

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The district was created in to help build Conseco Fieldhouse. The rest of the money goes to the state. He said having a Super Bowl in the mix could help. The city began negotiations with the Colts in , as rumors spread that Irsay was considering moving the franchise to Los Angeles. Irsay said repeatedly that he was committed to Indianapolis but also warned that the RCA Dome, the smallest in the league, has contributed to the team trailing much of the league in revenue.

Supporters have said the team has played a crucial role in the revitalization of Downtown that took place largely after the Colts arrived from Baltimore in Sunday, Jillian's on South Meridian Street was filled with a sea of blue-clad fans in the hours before the kickoff. When asked about the effect the Colts have on his business, general manager Jim Brown looked at the crowd. Brown said the bar's business on the day of home games is nearly double what it normally is. The venue will feature eight suites in the south end zone just five feet from the end zone.

The smallest suite seats eight fans.

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The Quarterback Suite will have seats, each sold separately. The suites will be marketed first to the suite holders in the RCA Dome, then the 48 firms on the waiting list will get their chance. Greg Hylton, vice president of premium seat and ticket sales, said companies that buy the large super suites will be able to pick from different types of sofas and possibly wall hangings. Companies, however, will not be able to bring in furniture, or, for example, pick their own shade of carpeting, he said. Club seats go on sale in April.

Prices have not been announced. It's got a lot of character. On a non-Lucas Oil Stadium issue, Goodell said the league is looking into altering its current schedule of 16 regular-season games and four or five preseason games. Ideally, the result will be 18 regular-season games and two preseason games. Lucas Oil Stadium, at 1. It needs more people to work on its cleaning crews, with its food vendors and in parking. Its water and electricity costs are higher, too. CIB officials weren't able to provide numbers on how many more game-day workers are needed, but the full-time staff has increased by 52 employees.

Officials anticipate that an expanded Indiana Convention Center - expected by late - and the new business it attracts eventually will help cover the CIB's operating costs. But if those new revenues fall short, the CIB's reserves could be wiped out. Two years ago, CIB officials said they were confident a solution would be found, but the size of the projected gap has only widened.


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They also said it's premature to discuss options such as more taxes, user fees, or asking the state or the Colts for help. The budget also contains good news, projecting revenues from setup, rentals and food sales to double in , when Lucas Oil Stadium will be open to events other than football for the entire year instead of just four months, as it is this year. Barney Levengood, the CIB's executive director, said the stadium is already drawing higher numbers of people - more than , in August, its first month of operation, compared with about , in the last Colts season at the dome.


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  4. Team officials have said the bigger stadium means more tax revenues for the city. Indianapolis Star Copyright by iPhotoIndy , whom we thank very much. We met and deliberated just yesterday to come up with the scores for each of the criteria in how we evaluate a sports venue. Here are the scores 10 pts maximum per category.

    So 70 points is good enough to earn the Colts a 6th place tie in our rankings of all 32 NFL teams that also means that our home team and stadium, Ralph Wilson Stadium, drops to 30th place in the USRT matrix.

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    When we did our ceremonial signing of "The Good Book", we could once again claim that we have attended a home game of each of the teams in the four major sports in their current and active venue. This day started on a sundrenched, summery, bucolic day here in downtown Indianapolis, and we headed out early to soak it all in. After doing the WHite Castle run for some grub, we checked out the tailgate scene, and toured the neighborhood to grab pictures.

    Tailgating here is pretty good, with most of the open lots south of Union Station and the rail trellace which separates the center part of downtown from the stadium area. The new construction around here consists of several hotels, interspersed with some warehouses and light industrial, and even a couple of charming neighborhoods with rowhouses and victorian style cottages. You can tell the old from the new, as most of the stadium itself and the new construction you can literally smell the new pavement, landscape beds, streetscapes and such - it all looks and feels new.

    Lucas Oil Stadium is a magnificent edifice - tall, massive, stately and so dominant on the city's skyline. The facade is red brick, steel and glass; the stadium marquee gleams at the top of the building; watching the roof, and the north wall, retract and open to the elements is a sight to behold. Outside there is entertainment at each of the four major entrances, a family fun zone on the east side with children's games, live music and food as well as corporate booths selling all kinds of stuff. But the signature entrance is the north side facing downtown.

    That is the Lucas Oil Gate, and walking into the building from that vantage point gives you a real "wow factor". The massive lobby here looks like a 50s retro theme - race cars, Lucas Oil paraphernalia, diner stle concession stands, and a sweeping view of the seating bowl. Each separate entrance has a corporate sponsor and its own "wow" lobby. The concourses here are full of color, banners, signage, ads, marquees and exhibits which mute what would other be austere grey concrete.

    The seating bowl has a steep upward pitch which makes for great viewing, save for the seats where we sat which are somewhat high up. The scoreboards here are a bit of a disappointment - video board hang off center in two corners of the stadium and are not that special, and the ribbon boards on the deck are not really utilized all that well. The game clock, down and score graphics are small and hard to find located in the end zones. If we kvetched about the snoozer of a game we saw in Bloomington yesterday, this one was just as bad - the Colts absolutely decimated the visiting Baltimore Ravens, winning You would think the hometown fans would be hooting and hollering as they left the building.

    After all this was their historic first wine ever at LOS. But the quiet shuffle of the crowd walking back towards downtown and to their cars and homes suggested that these were really tea and crumpet fans, and no frikkin way can they hang with the Bills crazies at RWS. So here we are for one more great night in the Big City. We're bailing on the St. Elmo idea and heading to one of many awesome brewpubs or sports bars for some grub, gonna watch the NLCS go Phillies! The stadium offers an example of how teams are working to generate more dollars from sponsors while giving companies more real estate and fans more things to do inside sports venues.

    Sponsors don't just get signage anymore. That's been true for some time, but in Indianapolis, companies' names are connected to an actual section of Lucas Oil Stadium. The companies work with the Colts to decorate and program the areas to maximize their businesses and entertainment for fans.

    The Air Tran Food Court features a first class fuselage that people can sit in.

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    Based on the way the economics of the National Football League work today, we needed a stadium that was going to drive revenue," said Peter Ward, Colts senior executive vice president. It had to work for the sponsors as well as our fans," Ward said. Hhgregg, a TV and appliance retailer with stores in nine states including Florida, has a 26,square-foot interactive fan area at the stadium's south entrance with flat screen TVs, digital cameras and even washers and dryers on display.

    There's an interactive video game in which fans can throw or kick a football across a virtual screen designed to look like Lucas Oil Stadium. There are also six inch Samsung TVs, a seating area in the shape of a horseshoe, and poles that look like goalposts. There's a product pavilion with Electrolux appliances, including refrigerators. Everything is wrapped in hhgreg signage, but there's also signage for Electrolux, Sony and other appliance brands. In addition, the Colts' official appliance retailer of flat panel TVs, has sales associates working the gate entrances, handing out coupons.

    Part of the problem: the expected renegotiation of the Indiana Pacers' lease of Conseco Fieldhouse. To get out of its financial mess, the CIB could try to renegotiate better deals with the Indianapolis Colts and other sports teams that use the stadiums it runs. It also could ask city taxpayers for help, though no new taxes could be raised without the OK of the city or state. Neither option was discussed; instead, board members said the goal was to review the problem and kick off efforts to find solutions.

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    The situation is so dire that board Treasurer Ann Lathrop said auditors are reviewing the CIB's finances as a "going concern," a term used to suggest that its near-term viability is in question. Debts that could have been handled in the past are being called in by banks short on cash, Lathrop said. Raising taxes during a recession, he said, likely would provoke a strong negative reaction. Just how effective any of the more obvious solutions might be will be a big question for the board to tackle. Colts owner Jim Irsay could not be reached for comment, but Pete Ward, the team's vice president, last year said the idea of "reopening a lease agreement that took four years to negotiate is ludicrous.

    He said he expected the CIB will have to take on more of the expenses of running Conseco if it wants to keep the team in Indianapolis. CIB President Bob Grand said the board will need to work with the teams, the city and financial experts to get out of its trouble. He said he was not ready to ask the Colts to renegotiate a deal that many have criticized as too generous.

    But he said the board will review CIB grants for the arts and other groups and try to find a way to manage its facilities better. Grand had asked Lathrop to study the costs of the new stadium once a full season was complete. The problem can be traced to the plans developed to finance the stadium. City officials had anticipated covering increased costs with taxes from a proposed Downtown casino.

    But when the state wrested control of the building project in , the new plan included no casino or other way to cover the increased operating expenses. State officials say they never agreed to pay those costs. Under the terms of the state's financing, excess revenue from higher taxes on food and beverage sales, hotel bookings and car rentals will be used to pay off construction bond debt early rather than to cover operating costs. Officials think an expanded convention center - expected by late - and the new business it attracts eventually will help cover the CIB's operating costs.

    But the board's problems are more immediate. Grand said he did not expect the board's financial problems to affect the city's hosting of the Super Bowl. Grand ruled out lobbying for higher property taxes as a potential solution and said raising other taxes and fees, such as food and beverage taxes the board has tapped in the past, would be a last resort. But he also said he expects that CIB grants to nonprofit groups will suffer in a future round of cost-cutting. Barney Levengood, the board's executive director, said his staff will have to find ways to do more with less.

    You stop and speed up more carefully to conserve gas. The stadium is nearly double the size of the former RCA Dome, so its higher operating costs aren't surprising. It needs more people to work on its maintenance and cleaning crews and as security and food vendors. Its utility, repair, supply and insurance costs are higher, too. That figure, however, proved far from accurate. These changes include giving the team all suite and advertising revenue, as well as a bigger slice of food concessions and novelty sales at the stadium.

    Fans won't be alone in being asked to help. Alcohol taxes would double statewide, and out-of-town visitors to Marion County would be asked to pay the highest hotel taxes in the nation. The Colts, on the other hand, now pay nothing to use Lucas Oil Stadium.

    State Sen. Luke Kenley, who put together the plan and who will seek to have it inserted into legislation at a hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee, said neither team has agreed to the proposal. Not applicable toward existing account balances or repairs. Offers cannot be combined. See store for details. It is that time of year again. We are all getting into the swing of another school year.

    Getting new supplies, meeting new friends, and adjusting to a new schedule. It is also a great time to upgrade to a new instrument! In many cases, it will be easier to play, it will make a better sound, and it will give your student the excitement to keep progressing on their musical journey. Now through the end of September we will be having our Back To School promotion! It is easy to do; you just give us your horn, fill out a new agreement, and leave with an upgrade!

    The best part of it is that you can leave your wallet at home. If you upgrade this by the end of September you will be able to walk out of the store with no money down! Summer is almost here and school is almost over. From modest beginnings more than three decades ago, Drum Corps International DCI has developed into a powerful, nonprofit, global youth activity with far-reaching artistic, educational and organizational influence. Through the annual DCI Tour and more than 35 World Championships in 17 North American cities, Drum Corps International provides entertainment to millions through live performances and nationally-televised events.

    Each year more than 8, students audition for about 3, positions in the top-tier member corps and participate in about events all across North America. Fortunately for those of us living in Indiana, there are a couple of shows hosted here every year. If you get the chance, you should try and make it to one of these shows.

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    You can view a short clip of their winning show below. For more information about Drum Corps International, please visit their website. As a non-profit youth organization, WGI serves as the leading governing body of the winter guard and indoor percussion activities. It is called the Sport of the Arts because it brings music to life through performance in a competitive format. Now entering its 38th year in , the sport continues to evolve and grow. There were more than 36, participants at the regional level, and more than 12, participants at the Sport of the Arts World Championships this past April.

    Hundreds, if not thousands of hours are spent designing, building, rehearsing and competing over several months. Indiana is one of the premier states when it comes to competitive percussion ensembles. The Indiana Percussion Association just recently held their State Prelims and State Finals competitions where over groups competed in both the concert and movement categories!

    You can view those results on the IPA website. As you might have guessed, Indiana will be well represented this weekend in Dayton, Ohio at the WGI Percussion World Championships with several groups competing in various classes. The massive amounts of time, care, preparation, rehearsals and talent all lead to performances that will simply blow you away.

    Which is only a couple of hours from Indianapolis. You could head over, watch performances and drive back all in one day. We feel the best day to go to get the most bang for your time is Friday. The WGI Expo will have vendors of all kinds showcasing the latest in percussion trends. There are also t-shirts, DVDs, sticks, mallets and more available for purchase.

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