Pawtucket, Des Moines approve maybe $90m in soccer subsidies, local reporters can’t be bothered to explain it

A $46.2 million subsidy for a Pawtucket USL soccer stadium was approved last week by … okay, let’s let the dueling crappy press reports explain it. First, the Providence Journal:

The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation board Friday afternoon approved $46.2 million in state incentives for a proposed $284-million soccer stadium and residential and commercial development on the Seekonk River in Pawtucket…

The 8-to-0 votes Friday approved $36.2 million in state borrowing for infrastructure improvements associated with the project, to be paid off by new tax revenue from Tidewater Landing. It also included $10 million in Rebuild RI tax credits, plus rebates of the sales and use tax on materials used during construction.

That seems pretty straightforward: The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation is the state development agency, and $46.2 million worth of future tax kickbacks (for a stadium that will only cost $40 million to build, plus a bunch of other non-soccer development) is about the size of what was being discussed last week. So, now it just needs to be approved by the state legislature, presumably? Let’s see what the Associated Press has to say:

A city committee approved the use of bonds and tax rebates amounting to $46 million for the project on Thursday, the city said in a statement.

The city … council? According to an earlier Providence Journal story, the “new tax revenue” kickbacks will include both state and city money, so it makes sense that the city would have to approve it. But why only a committee? Is there a full council vote still to follow? Anyone? Have our nation’s journalism outlets just totally given up on explaining anything that isn’t in the press release?

Meanwhile, in Des Moines, where last week it was reported that the city was working on subsidies for its own USL stadium that would amount to “much less than $45 million” (“much” here being a technical fiscal term meaning “something”), the city council voted last night to … the only reporting is from something called We Are Iowa, and here’s what it says:

The Des Moines City Council voted Monday night to approve a preliminary plan for the Capital City Reinvestment District, which formerly belonged to Dico, Inc.

The Council also voted to approve preliminary terms to sell part of the area for an urban renewal development agreement with Krause Group…

The Stadium District will transform the area into a “welcoming gateway into the downtown” part of Des Moines. A 6,300-seat, multi-use soccer stadium is hoped to be built in the area as well as a 150-room hotel with office buildings and a parking ramp.

Okay, what are those “preliminary terms”? Would the project still get tax kickbacks, just like in Pawtucket? Hello?Come on, guys, seriously, this is like your one job!
More news on both of these as they’re reported, I guess, which may or may not ever happen. (There’s video of the Des Moines council hearing, I see, but I don’t have time to watch it all right now to see if it includes any more details.) In the meantime, here’s a rendering of some sad people walking around the outside of the Pawtucket stadium because they can’t afford a ticket, or maybe don’t like soccer, or maybe decided to leave in the middle of the match because it was so boring, I mean seriously, half the fans are choosing to stand at an outward-facing railing and stare into the distance rather than watch the game … which is actually pretty much how I felt at the last low-level U.S. pro soccer match I went to, so points for realism!

 

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2 comments on “Pawtucket, Des Moines approve maybe $90m in soccer subsidies, local reporters can’t be bothered to explain it

  1. When was the last time you saw a stadium proposal that included “a contaminated site near the Raccoon River?” Sounds like fun!
    https://businessrecord.com/Content/Default/All-Latest-News/Article/Details-of-535-million-proposed-soccer-stadium-project-revealed/-3/248/92451

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