ANDERSON, Ind. – For the past 7 years, the grill at the Lemon Drop in Anderson has stayed on a little longer during the summer as hungry Colts fans come to town to watch their team tackle training camp, then pile into local restaurants for a bite to eat.
“We are famous for our onion burgers. It is two pieces of meat and then on the inside there are onions. It is delicious,” said Lemon Drop employee Sheree Titley.
In the past few years, Colts players like Andrew Luck have come in and even made it up on the wall of fame.
“They came in two summers ago and they really enjoyed being here and they were helpful. The players even pretended to cook a little bit too. They were a lot of fun and bought some t-shirts. Andrew was on national TV with our shirt on,” said Titley.
The Lemon Drop and other businesses won’t be so lucky this summer because the Indianapolis Colts say they will not be coming back to Anderson.
“It is obviously not a total surprise. We know that there has been a lot of changes going on in the Colts franchise. I certainly understand that they are looking at different options for themselves and their team and we fully support that,” said Anderson Mayor Thomas Broderick.
With the team gone that means the extra money will be too. Mayor Broderick tells FOX 59 News that he does not know how much money the city will lose by the Colts move but says that the economic impact in recent years has not been as strong as it used to be. Last summer, the Colts camp was cut down to only 17 days and 11 practices.
“I’m sorry that they are going but the reality is that they are going to be fine and we are going to be fine,” said Mayor Broderick.
This is not the first time that the Colts have left Anderson. The team trained there from 1984 through 1998 and then moved to Terre Haute. The Colts came back to Anderson in 2010 after the city gave $120,000 to the university to upgrade facilities.
Even without the Colts locals say business will go on as usual.
“When you lose one customer…you pick up another,” said Mayor Broderick.
The big question now is where will the Colts camp go from here? Our media partners at the Indianapolis Star tell us that Depauw University in Greencastle has been tossed around as an idea. The Colts could also be looking at using their own facility for camp. Right now, only a dozen NFL franchises travel out of town to a training camp facility.