St. Louis Officials To Consider Funding Sources To Upgrade Rams' Stadium
St. Louis area officials in nine months "must decide how much they're willing to pay, and where the money will come from, to prevent the Rams from breaking their lease of the Edward Jones Dome," according to Matthew Hathaway of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. There is "no dollar figure yet and no detailed talks have taken place among the group of governments that built the downtown stadium 16 years ago." The Rams' lease contains a "requirement that come 2015, the Dome must be a 'top-tier' facility -- one that's superior to three-quarters of all NFL venues." Local leaders "may be hoping to persuade the Rams to waive the 'top-tier' requirement," but "no one expects" Rams Owner Stan Kroenke "to do that for free." Persuading Kroenke "likely would involve millions in publicly funded improvements." Bob O'Loughlin, Chair of the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission, which manages the Dome, said, "No one is losing sight of the lease and the fact that, pretty soon, we've all got to talk." He added, "We've said to the ownership that we'd love to sit down with you sooner rather than later to discuss the future. We were told to wait." Hathaway noted finding a public funding source to upgrade the Dome "will be difficult when local governments are still paying off the original construction debt." The lease "calls for the Rams to stay in town through 2025, but only if St. Louis keeps its end of the bargain" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 5/1).