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Volume 24 No. 115


The city of Jacksonville “has to figure out how it will pay" for its $43M share of the $63M renovation proposed for EverBank Field “before the world’s biggest scoreboards light up,” according to David Bauerlein of the FLORIDA TIMES-UNION. City of Jacksonville Communications Dir David DeCamp on Thursday said that the city “has the ability to borrow enough money to pay for the work, but administrators are still determining what source of funding will repay the debt.” After Mayor Alvin Brown “puts forward a financing plan, he still must win City Council approval during the summer budget hearings.” Most of the “half dozen council members interviewed Thursday were open to the proposal, though they wanted more details about the financing plan.” City Council President Bill Bishop said, “We have to stay current. We have to be sure we’re competitive, not only in the NFL but in the world. This is all part of moving Jacksonville forward.” DeCamp added that “all options are on the table,” and the city “can take on the debt for stadium work without squeezing out other construction projects.” One funding source “could be the city’s hotel bed tax.” The 6% tax “currently is split three ways to promote tourism, pay debt on the stadium, and do maintenance of buildings at the sports complex.” But if the city “used the bed tax for the scoreboard and fan zone, it would siphon money from doing a long list of stadium maintenance upgrades” (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 6/21).

MLS Crew President & GM Mark McCullers on Thursday said that the team is "primarily focused on its own financial goals and not a number of real-estate development plans in Central Ohio," according to Adam Jardy of the COLUMBUS DISPATCH. It was reported last week that local officials "are considering a redevelopment plan on the Scioto Peninsula that would build a new arts venue and other developments." However, McCullers said that the team’s "goals of reaching 10,000 season tickets and selling naming rights to Crew Stadium are the only priorities for the Crew’s front office right now." He said, "It’s very premature for us to talk about anything beyond Goal 10K and naming rights because without the first two, the other is just speculation." Crew Stadium, the first soccer-specific stadium in the U.S., will "undergo some minor upgrades this offseason as 1,400 seats near midfield on the east side will be upgraded to chair-back seating as part of the team’s Center Circle Club." Large-scale renovations to the stadium "are not in the team’s immediate plans." McCullers said that the team is "always listening to ideas and has been approached about relocating downtown but that it is not an active participant in any talks" (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 6/21).

In Sacramento, Ryan Lillis reports the City Council is being "asked to write its first big check for the development of a new downtown sports arena." City development staff will "ask the council at its meeting Tuesday night to free up" $6.5M in cash, some of which will be "used to hire a team of financial, design and legal consultants." The money is "included within" the $258M subsidy the city has proposed contributing to the $448M arena project at Downtown Plaza. Of the funding, city staff has "proposed using" $1.78M for consultants. The rest of the money would be "used for the construction of the arena if a final financing and development plan is approved by the council following the completion of an environmental review next year" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 6/21).

BUSINESS BOON: A Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL editorial stated Daytona Int'l Speedway's plan to renovate the front stretch "augurs well for the future of the Speedway -- and Daytona Beach." The project "likely will mark the beginning of major new commercial development on the western end of the city's International Speedway Boulevard corridor." But "jobs -- and more jobs -- will be the theme after the first shovel is turned." It "hardly needs saying that all this represents a major investment in the future of the track and the Daytona Beach area" (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 6/19).

LOOKING AHEAD: Oilers President & CEO Patrick LaForge said that the "final blueprint" for the team's new downtown arena will be "in their hands in late September, with construction manager PCL then having four weeks to come to a price tag." In Edmonton, David Staples noted PCL’s mandate is to "not go over" the C$480M price "set by city council and the Katz Group." Once a price is "guaranteed, the construction company must pay for over runs." Ground will be "broken in January 2014, with construction lasting 29 months and the new arena opening in September 2016, for the 2016-17 season" (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 6/20).

NOT SO NEW: In Winnipeg, Bartley Kives notes the concrete slabs on the concourse at Investors Group Field are "beset with cracks, described as cosmetic" by venue builder BBB Stadium Chair Phil Sheegl. CFL Blue Bombers Dir of Communications & Media Relations Darren Cameron in a statement said that there are "no structural concerns regarding the cracks in the slab concrete." Sheegl said that the Blue Bombers will "not be on the hook for maintaining the concrete" (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 6/21).