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BROWNS FUTURE EXAMINED THIS WEEK IN THE PLAIN DEALER
Published February 2, 1995
This week the Cleveland PLAIN-DEALER ran a four-part series on the future on the Browns, called "A Big League Town: The Cost of Staying in the NFL." SUNDAY: Part I examined the value of the Browns to the city and area in light of Owner Art Modell's comments that he may have to sell the Browns if he doesn't receive a new or renovated stadium. On the question of whether the investment is "worth it in terms of community prestige and return on the dollar," economists "see it as part boon, part boondoggle" (Bonnie DeSimone, Cleveland PLAIN-DEALER, 1/29). MONDAY: Part II examined the ways municipalities have handled stadium construction, noting that for some cities "being competitive can be expensive." Renovation successes in Jacksonville, Seattle and Tampa, along with new stadium projects in Miami, St. Louis and Charlotte, are featured. (Steven Koff, Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 1/30). TUESDAY: Part III compared Municipal Stadium to other "state of the art" stadiums around the NFL. Due to the fact that it "falls short in dozens of ways," renovations will cost an estimated $130M for a "massive internal makeover" (Steven Litt, Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 1/31). WEDNESDAY: Part IV examines potential sources of money to pay for a new stadium. The Task Force, which hopes to deliver a recommendation to Cleveland Mayor Michael White by mid-February, has "declined to say whether they have any favorite financing plans." Some options the Task Force is considering: A regional stadium authority that could levy sales taxes; a Cleveland parking lot tax; a surcharge on Browns home game tickets; a statewide "soda pop tax"; and a capital improvements appropriation from the state. The chosen revenue source "will likely be used to support issuance of economic development revenue bonds" (Stephen Phillips, Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 2/1). ADDENDUM: A proposal for a "Sports Mart" attached to the renovated Municipal Stadium is now "in the hands" of the Task Force, according to Stan Bullard of CRAIN'S CLEVELAND BUSINESS. The Mart would include a sports mall, a hotel, and a sports medicine clinic. It "would make the stadium more than just a home for football games" and could produce profits to help repay bonds sold to finance the stadium renovations (CRAIN'S CLEVELAND BUSINESS, 1/30-2/5 issue).