County Council Approves $40.5 Million For Fieldhouse Repairs

Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in downtown Cleveland under renovation
Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in downtown Cleveland, under renovation. [Adrian Ma / ideastream]

Cuyahoga County Council signed off on a plan Tuesday night to borrow $40.5 million for repairs at the Cavaliers’ Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.

The measure passed unanimously by a voice vote. The county will pay off the debt over time with revenue from a voter-approved "sin tax" tax on cigarettes and alcohol.

The new bond sale will reimburse the Cavs for work already completed or still underway at the fieldhouse. Council also approved refinancing for $40 million in bonds already sold for an earlier round of work at the fieldhouse and Progressive Field.

The current fieldhouse work includes replacing the roof for $5 million, as well as replacing the heating and air conditioning system, fire alarms and lights. The Cavaliers are also using the public funding on an ice floor, chiller plant and to improve the bathrooms under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The team’s lease obligates the public to pay for any capital repairs totaling more than $500,000.

Gateway Economic Development Corporation, a quasi-governmental non-profit that approves repairs for public funding, has already signed off on the work. This arrangement would be separate from the 2017 public financing deal for the fieldhouse’s transformation project.

Voters renewed the 20-year sin tax in 2014 to pay for repairs at the fieldhouse, Progressive Field and FirstEnergy Stadium. The county estimates the tax will raise about $13 million annually. Proceeds are split three ways among the teams.

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