Consultants hired by the City of Evansville to provide options to upgrade or replace Roberts Stadium unveiled 11 recommended sites for construction of a new arena last night. No decision has been made yet on the fate of Roberts, and members of the advisory board tasked with making that decision say all options remain on the table. While a decision on whether or not to construct a new, $100 million, 8600 seat venue may be up in the air, its clear that consultants think downtown is the prime spot for such a facility. Eight of their 11 recommended sites are in the downtown area. Among the chief criteria used by consultants to pick the sites: parking availability. The facility would need a parcel of land roughly four acres, with about 5000 parking spots within a four block walk to the arena. One of the locations under consideration is the Civic Center parking lot, often referred to as the "back 40" by employees. Fifty years ago, it was the terminus of the C. E. & I. Railroad, and home to passenger and freight depot. Today, its 929 parking spots accommodate many of the 2000 to 3000 visitors, and almost all of the 1100 employees who work in the Civic Center. It is also the primary parking venue for the citys concert and convention hub, The Centre. At least two of the prospective downtown properties that could house a stadium would rely heavily on the Civic Center lot. Another plan would actually put the stadium in that lot. All of the 8 downtown sites would rely on existing parking, and consultants dont recommend building parking garages. Consultants believe that by encouraging visitors coming to the venue to park and walk, it will improve the fortunes of surrounding restaurants, bars and shops. Foot traffic coming to downtown arenas in other cities has enhanced nearby business. One element of the formula that consultants have not considered yet, according to some who work downtown, is the relative disinterest many in the Evansville community have shown towards walking from parking to their final destination. Dave Rector, who oversees the Civic Center lot as part of his duties as Building Authority director, says he hears a steady stream of complaints from building employees when events at the Centre compete for parking spots. "The farther away you are, the more irritated you are. Everybody wants to be up close," said Rector. At least three of the proposed sites could end up forcing the Building Authority to consider new parking options. Certainly, construction of an arena in the lot would change the parking dynamic, but building on what is known as Site 2, the Executive Inn/D-Patrick Ford site, or Site 3, the Walnut & 5th site, would might also. Rector says his agency reviews its parking plans several times each year, and has looked at the possibility of building a parking garage, but that might cost the city and county several million dollars.