SBD/November 8, 2012/Facilities

El Paso Voters Approve Hotel Tax Increase To Finance Downtown Ballpark

The $50M park will be financed primarily by customers of El Paso hotels
El Paso residents on Tuesday "voted in favor of increasing the hotel tax" to pay for construction of a proposed downtown ballpark, according to Cindy Ramirez of the EL PASO TIMES. The vote was "in favor of Proposition 3, which called for the designation of the ballpark project as a sports venue and the use of hotel occupancy tax dollars to finance it." About 60% of voters "cast ballots supporting the proposition." With the approval, the $50M Triple-A stadium will be "financed primarily by customers of El Paso hotels." The remaining portion "would be paid for by lease payments, baseball-ticket surcharges and parking revenues, among other sources." The decision on Proposition 3 follows "months of heated debate" over the process and cost of bringing the PCL Tuscon Padres to the city. El Paso in June entered into partnership with MountainStar Sports Group "when the City Council agreed to build the ballpark Downtown." The council in September "approved a contract with the group for the lease of the ballpark." MountainStar in October "officially became the owner" of the PCL Tuscon Padres. The team will play its '13 season in Arizona and is "expected to play in El Paso in 2014" (EL PASO TIMES, 11/7).

TENNIS, ANYONE? In Miami, Charles Rabin noted Miami-Dade (Fla.) county voters passed a "planned expansion and renovation of Key Biscayne's popular Sony Open tournament facilities" at the Crandon Park Tennis Center for which the county would have to issue $50M in bonds that would be "paid off with tournament revenue" (MIAMI HERALD, 11/7). The HUFFINGTON POST's Christiana Lilly noted "preliminary voting results" showed 72.59% of Miami-Dade voters are in favor of the renovations. A public vote was "required under Miami-Dade County's 'Save Our Parks' amendment, which protects public lands." Tournament organizer IMG said that the $50M facelift would be "funded solely by private funds and event proceeds, though that would likely happen through a revenue-backed county bonds issue" (HUFFINGTONPOST.com, 11/7).
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