St. Louis Rams: City’s refusal to provide $700 million improvement to Dome is step in right direction
On Friday, the city of St. Louis and more specifically, the St. Louis Convention and Visitor’s Commission, made it public that the city would not provide the $700 million in improvements that the St. Louis Rams require to upgrade the Edward Jones Dome to make it a top tier NFL facility.
The move should not be considered a surprise. It was highly unlikely that tax payer dollars would be used to upgrade an already existing structure downtown for the benefit of the St. Louis Rams.
But the move should not be cause for concern for Rams fans worried that the team will flea after the 2014 season, when the lease between the team and the city will officially be broken.
Fans should not be concerned because now the two sides can start discussing what everyone wants in the first place.
A brand new outdoor stadium.
Rams fans should be more worried about where this new outdoor facility will be instead of whether the team will move to L.A, London or some other location. The only place the team may move is out of downtown and to either Maryland Heights or Fenton.
Now that the mess with the Edward Jones Dome is finally over, the two sides can start negotiating the funding for this new facility, which will also likely include funds from the NFL.
And there is a template to follow, a template that is very attractive to everyone involved.
The Atlanta Falcons and the city of Atlanta recently agreed and approved the construction of a one billion dollar retractable roof stadium, of which $200k of which will be paid for with public funds, raised through hotel taxes. The Falcons and the NFL will kick in the rest.
While the city of St. Louis and its taxpayers will find the Atlanta agreement favorable if duplicated in St. Louis, there is an even more team friendly example currently happening as well.
The Minnesota Vikings are building a $975 million stadium, of which the team and the NFL are paying half and the city and state are splitting the rest.
The Rams and the CVC will likely try to come to an agreement that is somewhere between the two current examples, of which the team and the NFL would kick in somewhere between 50 and 80 percent of the funding.
While the use of public tax dollars will not be favorable to some, the opportunity to build a new entertainment district either downtown or in the county should be attractive to citizens of the region, as long as the project is done the right way.
The city’s refusal to upgrade the Dome should not be viewed as a negative. It is a positive. There are a lot of outstanding things that can come from the construction of a new high quality facility that will paid for with mostly private funds.
St. Louis fans should look at it as an opportunity to improve the region and be glad that the two sides can finally discuss what it is they have wanted to the entire time.
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