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February 14, 2004
Public to pay for Bengals' new turf
When the Cincinnati Bengals announced earlier this month that they were replacing the grass field at Paul Brown Stadium with artificial turf, the team said it would be picking up the cost, estimated at $500,000 to $1 million. Not so fast: the Bengals also extracted a lease clause from Hamilton County that says once 14 NFL teams adopt a new technology, or seven do so with public money, the county must reimburse the team for its costs.
"I have no doubt in my mind taxpayers are going to have to pick up the tab," County Commissioner Phil Heimlich told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "The lease is like the Energizer bunny, you know how it keeps going and going? Well, we keep paying and paying."
The list of "Level I Enhancements" that the lease puts taxpayers on the hook for includes "smart seats," "stadium self-cleaning machines," and our favorite, a "holographic replay system." We can hardly wait to see what happens once other teams' stadiums can make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs.