SBD/April 18, 2011/Facilities

County Commission Kills Plans For Reds, Bengals To Contribute To Stadium Fund

Taxpayers will continue to cover stadium fund deficit after commission votes down deal
The “much-touted deal” to have the Reds and Bengals “contribute nearly $10 million to the fund that pays for their stadium construction is dead,” according to Sharon Coolidge of the CINCINNATI ENQUIRER. The decision Friday from the Hamilton County Commission means that “taxpayers will continue to shoulder the burden of bailing out the county's stadium fund on their own," and it was "county leaders -- not the teams -- that pulled the plug." The deal was announced in December “as a five-year fix to the stadium fund's growing deficit.” It called for the teams to “pay a combined $9.6 million -- $7.4 million from the Bengals and $2.2 million from the Reds -- in rent between 2011 and 2015, as opposed to nothing as their lease calls for." It was “presented as a done deal, just awaiting signatures,” but “no agreements were signed -- and now the county says they won't be.” Problems with the Bengals “surfaced immediately, with the two sides disputing whether the deal" should include an option for the Bengals to "extend their lease for 10 years” at Paul Brown Stadium. The Reds' agreement “was thought to remain in place -- just not signed -- held up by how the Bengals' deal would shake out.” Hamilton County Commissioner Greg Hartmann Friday said that “it was the county's choice to ax the deal with the Reds.” The commissioners today are “scheduled to discuss the stadium fund deficit” at a staff meeting (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 4/17).
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