Senate Bill could expand Four Winds Field, $5 million yearly for the city

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- A Senate Bill currently going through the Statehouse may give Four Winds Field and other South Bend parks a new and expanded look!

The money earmarked by Senate Bill 326 would be used to create a new upper deck and other additions to Four Winds Field, home of the South Bend Cubs!

“This is a ballpark that provides a really heightened quality of life for everybody,” says Andrew Berlin, owner of the South Bend Cubs.

Four Winds Field, where Michiana comes to play, may see major improvements and expansion in the near future.

“There is going to be a second deck, there is going to be some more building within the park,” Berlin says.

That’s if Senate Bill 326 makes its way through the Indiana Statehouse. The bill would expand on an existing law established in cities with professional sports teams, “capturing” tax dollars that would normally go to the state in order to provide funds for maintaining publicly owned stadiums.

It would bring $100 million to the city of South Bend over the next 20 years.

“We want to show support,” says Indiana state Senator Ryan Mishler. “We’re raising the cap, proposing to raise the cap, on that Professional Sports Development Area.”

The bill, co-authored by State Senators Ryan Mishler and David Niezgoski, passed out of the Appropriations Committee with a unanimous vote of approval on Thursday.

“We made the argument in front of the Appropriations Committee, and they voted 13-0 to pass the legislation on,” Berlin explains. “Essentially what it does is provide $5 million every year for the city of South Bend.”

Half of that $5 million going towards improving Four Winds Field, the other $2.5 million funding necessary projects by South Bend Venues Parks and Arts.

“We’ve really seen the emphasis or the need for quality of place improvements, so for us to be able to capture some ballpark some city is really critical,” says President and CEO of the South Bend Chamber of Commerce, Jeff Rea.

Taxpayers don’t have to worry; taxes are not going up, but rather the money that would typically be sent back to Indianapolis is being reinvested into South Bend, into one of its key attractions.

“I think we already have one of the best stadiums in all of Minor League Baseball, so this will give us a chance to enhance it and ensure that Minor League Baseball is in South Bend for many years to come,” Rea says.

“This is not just about baseball,” says Berlin. “This is about quality of life; it’s about having pride and prestige in a great city.”

Senate Bill 326 has not been fully approved; its next steps are a floor vote in the State Senate, then House, then getting the Governor’s signature.

Next month, Berlin will be presenting more comprehensive renderings of what Four Winds Field would look like if the bill is fully approved.

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