Where Will Raiders End Up Playing in '19? Mercedes-Benz Stadium Faces Concerns On Roof Nationals Unveil Luxury Seating Section A's Ready For Final Push On New Ballpark Crews Putting Finishing Touches On SunTrust Park Could Sprint Center Hold An NBA/NHL Tenant? Facility Notes Raiders Begin Process For Vegas Stadium Source: Pegulas Taking Right Stadium Approach Calgary Mayor: Flames' Arena Project "Dead"
DECISION '96: HAMILTON COUNTY OK'S BENGALS AND REDS PARKS
Published March 20, 1996
Hamilton County voters yesterday "overwhelmingly ratified" a half-cent sales tax increase to build two new stadiums for the Reds and Bengals, according to Michaud & Green of the CINCINNATI ENQUIRER. Despite poor weather, turnout was a record in a primary election. With close to all precincts reporting, Issue I on the stadium tax led, 61% to 39%. Bengals GM Mike Brown hugged Reds Owner Marge Schott before addressing a pro-stadium rally and called it the "greatest moment in my life." OH Gov. George Voinovich said citizens voted to "maintain Cincinnati as a major league city." The vote will raise the sales tax in Hamilton County from 5.5% to 6% beginning June 1. The tax would raise around $50M each year, of which Hamilton County would use $35M a year to build the stadiums. The rest would fund property tax relief. The Bengals will pay $25-30M toward the estimated $170M football stadium, while Schott is in discussions with officials on their contribution. Proponents say the total cost of the project will hit $700M when interest payments are included, up from preliminary estimates of $544.2M. Hamilton County Commissioner Bob Bedinghaus said work to complete the financing for the stadium will begin immediately (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 3/20). TIGER BY THE TAIL? As election day approached, "speculation increased" the Bengals might move to Cleveland if the tax failed (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 3/20). After the vote, Brown admitted filling a 70,000-seat stadium and selling over 70 boxes will be difficult. Local economists are also "skeptical" the city's corporate community will support both teams (Akron BEACON JOURNAL, 3/20).