For so many South Bend residents, one of our favorite pastimes is to while away a few hours at Four Winds Field. There’s just something about it — whether you love the crowd, the soft pretzels or baseball itself. There’s just nothing quite like it.
That’s why all of us authored or sponsored Senate Enrolled Act 326. SEA 326 will allow South Bend to retain up to $5 million annually in state tax revenue through 2044 for expansions and improvements to the South Bend professional sports and convention development area. The South Bend Cubs have already committed to another 20 years in the city. This new legislation will allow for important renovations planned by the South Bend Cubs and the city at Four Winds Field, which is already one of our city’s greatest draws and brings in about $24 million in annual economic impact to the city of South Bend.
The additional funding provided by SEA 326 will help turn our award-winning stadium into a year-round attraction by adding an upper deck, event space and new seating. This means new dollars, new visitors and new opportunities for South Bend’s PSCDA and the city at large!
more: New Indiana law lets South Bend capture $3 million more for stadium, Morris, Century Center
It’s important to note that Four Winds Field will not be the only beneficiary of this new law. Although a set amount of the new captured revenue must be used to maintain and improve Four Winds Field, the rest will benefit other community staples like the Morris Performing Arts Center and the Century Center.
In addition to the hundreds of new apartments and related economic activities in and around the downtown area, the stadium has now attracted 60 new housing units, half of which are set aside for low-income families. Whether or not you’re a baseball fan, this latest development at Four Winds Field is a home run.
SEA 326 is part of a positive snowball effect — just two years ago, the South Bend-Elkhart Region saw record investments through the READI (Regional Economic Acceleration & Development Initiative) grant program. These READI grants paid for key improvements in many of the same facilities SEA 326 bolsters, including upgrades to the Morris Performing Arts Center and the Potawatomi Zoo. These investments spur our community’s development and quality of life, which draws more investment in turn.
The benefits of SEA 326 and the South Bend Cubs brought to the city and surrounding communities are incalculable. At no new expense to taxpayers, our community will be able to open a new revenue stream and bring even more visitors to South Bend.
More visitors and tourism contribute to a stronger, more vibrant economy. Each new dollar spent in our community will be returned to taxpayers in some form, whether it be better public amenities, increased health and safety initiatives, greater availability of public services, etc. This new law is going to deliver real benefits to citizens and help our city do what it does best: Create exceptional spaces for the community.
This law doesn’t just fund a real improvement in South Bend — it’s a testament to our city’s potential. South Bend continues to see growth, investment and partnerships that illustrate the importance of our community to the State of Indiana and its status as an economic and convention hub.
Finally, we’re all incredibly proud to say that this bill made it through with broad, unprecedented bipartisan support. Even though we cast different votes and have different ideologies, all the people who advocate for this legislation are united and driven by a deep love for our community.
We are so grateful to the many community advocates and leaders who worked on this project. We’d especially like to thank Andrew Berlin, the owner of the South Bend Cubs and an invaluable teammate, Major James Mueller and Sen. Ryan Mishler, the first author on SEA 326. Without your expertise and commitment, it’s unlikely that South Bend would see this come to life.
All of us will continue working tirelessly to bring more common-sense, transformative projects like this one to fruition for our city and look forward to seeing how this legislation improves the quality of life in South Bend and beyond.
State Sen. David Niezgodski and state Reps. Maureen Bauer and Jake Teshka represent the city of South Bend and the surrounding communities.
This article originally appeared on South Bend Tribune: South Bend could see millions from Senate Enrolled Act 326.