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October 29, 2006
Weekend update: More subsidies for Cards, Yanks
Once again, we go spanning the Internet for the latest stadium and arena news:
- The St. Louis Cardinals didn't just steal a victory on the field last week; the team also won the $100 million in tax breaks they were seeking for their "Ballpark Village." According to the development plan announced on Friday, the $387 million project will get a total of $116 million in public subsidies, including $56 million in tax-increment financing from the city, $29 million in sales-tax increment financing from the state, $26 million from a 1% sales-tax surcharge in the stadium district and a $1 ticket tax on the Cardinals museum and other attractions, and $5 million in "city-issued bonds" that will apparently be paid off via elfin magic, because the Associated Press doesn't specify where the repayment funds would come from. (Of course, that's still better than MLB.com, whose allegedly "independent" reporter declared that "the project will not use any taxpayer dollars" - right before specifying that "$56 million will be requested through the City of St. Louis and another $29 million will be asked for from the state.") At least one state agency still needs to sign off on the deal.
- There's finally a price tag on the new commuter rail station the state of New York is building for the New York Yankees: $45 million. In addition, according to the Journal News of Westchester County, "the platforms would be served by stairs and elevators and connected to a new 24-foot-wide overpass, which the city will pay to build" - no cost estimate mentioned. Beverly Dolinsky, who heads the MTA's Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee, told the paper: "We think the Yankees should be footing the bill. Here you have the richest team in baseball and the MTA is facing huge deficits and why aren't they footing the bill for this? I definitely think they should have a station there, and I've thought so for a long time, but I don't think [the MTA] should be paying for it."
- Initiative 91 mastermind Chris Van Dyk says he's had two meetings with the owners of the Seattle Sonics in recent weeks, and is hopeful of working out a plan to renovate KeyArena without significant public dollars. "From talking to the new owners, they see different ways to skin the cat," Van Dyk told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "They're taking a much broader approach." One problem with I-91, though, is that in only limits city subsidies to sports teams, not state or county - which means the Sonics could always take the same "broader approach" that was used to get around the ban on city sports subsidies passed by Minneapolis voters in 1997.