SBD/30/Facilities Venues


     On a "long day pockmarked by tough talk, bombs of confusion
and acrimonious debate," Cincinnati's City Council approved a
$540M plan to finance new stadiums for both the Reds and Bengals
through an increase in Hamilton County's sales tax from 5.5% to
6.5%.  The 5-4 vote came five minutes before a midnight deadline
set by Bengals Owner Mike Brown for a stadium plan to be in
place.  Brown said he would negotiate exclusively with MD Stadium
Authority officials if a plan was not agreed upon.  The tax will
go into effect October 1.  The stadiums, to be constructed along
Cincinnati's riverfront, are expected to be completed by 2000.
Brown said he "couldn't be happier":  "We cried out and people
heard us" (Green, Goldberg & Michaud, CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 6/30).
Brown, in a statement: "The Bengals belong in Cincinnati.  I've
never felt any other way"  (Bengals).   THE PLAN:  TAXES:
Hamilton County will raise their sales tax from 5.5% to 6.5%,
subject to referendum which could be go on the ballot if enough
signatures are collected by opposition groups.  The state and
teams will also contribute financing; OPERATIONS: The county will
operate and maintain the stadiums;  SCHOOLS:  Cincinnati's public
schools will receive funding, at least $10M/year in building
improvements;  PARKING: County maintains "substantially the same"
amount as now available at Riverfront Stadium; RIVERFRONT:  The
county will assume all debts, obligations and responsibilities
for the old stadium.  The city will give the county all revenue
collected from the stadium.  The team's city-owned practice
facility will also be transferred to the county;  MARKETING:  The
Cincinnati Business Committee and Greater Cincinnati Chamber of
Commerce will form a marketing committee to market and lease new
skyboxes and seats;  FINANCES:  Approximately $100M will be
raised from the sales tax annually, with $46M for property tax
relief, $35M for stadium financing, and additional funds for a
new jail and other projects (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 6/30).
     THE PARKS:  The Reds new stadium will have about 45,000
seats and have a similar design to Camden Yards and Jacobs Field.
The football stadium will be constructed on Riverfront's site and
seat around 70,000 with 100 corporate suites (CINCINNATI
ENQUIRER, 6/30).
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