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WITH FIVE MINUTES TO SPARE, CINCY COUNCIL APPROVES STAD PLAN
Published June 30, 1995
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).