Cincinnati gets $5m bill for stadium upgrades to go with 2015 All-Star Game

One of the perks of building a new MLB stadium is that your city can get in line to host an All-Star Game: Of the last 17 All-Star Games, all but two have been held in recently built stadiums (three if you count Miami’s Pro Player Stadium, which opened in 1987 and had to wait until 2004 for its day in the spotlight) [correction: ignore the parenthetical, I apparently can’t read]. And with it comes … a request for an extra $5 million in public money?

“We want to make the ballpark shine,” said Hamilton County’s stadium Director Joe Feldkamp. Many of the fixes on the list, he said, were being planned anyway and are just being sped up. Reds Chief Operating Officer Phil Castellini said the improvements are needed to “allow our community to be viewed in the best possible light when we have the honor of hosting the All-Star Game in 2015,” he wrote in an email to the Enquirer.

Actually, $5 million isn’t all that much to spend on stadium upgrades, especially since Hamilton County is already on the hook for all capital maintenance costs for the Reds. (And the Bengals, who are demanding $21.8 million of their own improvements to Paul Brown Stadium.) But it is a reminder of why signing a lease that commits taxpayers to pay for future improvements is a terrible, terrible idea. And with Hamilton County already having sold off a public hospital in 2011 and raised property taxes in 2012 to pay for past stadium debts, it’s going to be interesting to see what they turn to next. No, probably not that.

3 comments on “Cincinnati gets $5m bill for stadium upgrades to go with 2015 All-Star Game

  1. Neil, not to get off topic, and maybe I’m reading your article wrong, but the Marlins have never hosted an All Star Game, and certainly didn’t in 2004. That year, the game was in Houston at Minute Maid Park. I still have the tickets, so I know I was there :)

  2. D’oh! Chalk this one up to sleep deprivation on my part. And also to “Why on earth is any stadium not in Florida named after orange juice?”

  3. Well, I’m pretty sure I know what the responses most people would give to this: “Only five million dollars? Look, this one weekend will create $300M in economic activity! Who WOULDN’T invest that $5M? Only a complete FRED wouldn’t!”.