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Here’s How Cleveland’s Sports Teams Would Like to Upgrade Their Stadiums—With Taxpayer Help

Friday, January 24, 2014 at 10:37 AM

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The Indians and Cavaliers are sharing more details on $135 million in possible stadium repairs the teams are considering making over the next 10 years.

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The Indians' draft of proposed Progressive Field upgrades over the next 10 years. The Cavaliers' draft of proposed Quicken Loans Arena upgrades over the next 10 years. Part two of the Cavaliers' draft of proposed Quicken Loans Arena upgrades over the next 10 years.

The Indians and Cavaliers are sharing more details on $135 million in possible stadium repairs the teams are considering making over the next 10 years. The teams would like voters to approve a 20-year extension to the county’s tax on cigarettes and alcohol to help pay for it. Cuyahoga County Council is deciding whether to put the sin tax issue before voters this May.

Draft proposals given to council—posted above—include up to $9 million for a new scoreboard at Quicken Loans Arena. The Indians estimate a scoreboard replacement over the next decade would cost about $14.9 million. Other potential projects include a new roof at the Q, repairs to concrete at both facilities – and upgrades to the two buildings’ heating and electrical systems.

Tim Offtermatt with Gateway Economic Development Corporation, which owns the two facilities, says if the sin tax isn’t extended, he’d likely ask council to find another way to pay for repairs with public money.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson’s chief of staff, Ken Silliman, said the city plans to use sin tax proceeds to help fund upgrades to First Energy Stadium. The city owns the First Energy Stadium, and is paying $2 million from its general fund for improvement projects. Silliman told county council the city plans to spend about $47 million from current and possibly future sin tax revenue.

First passed by voters in 1990, the sin tax has raised about $350 million to date, according to the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s campaign to renew the tax. Cleveland and Cuyahoga County have used the money to help pay off debt incurred while building the three facilities.

(Story by ideastream’s Nick Castele)

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