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Stadium Improvements

What is a deeper red?  The red on the color of the Cincinnati Reds hats, or the red ink which keeps trying to wash over the fund which pays for Great American Ball Park and Paul Brown Stadium?


The Reds want to speed up some stadium improvements in time for the 2015 All Star Game. But Hamilton County, which owns both facilities, does not have enough money.


Local 12 news reporter Jeff Hirsh tells us what happens next.


They may seem a lot newer, but Great American Ball Park is already 10 years old and Paul Brown stadium is 13. There are needed repairs to both as well as the contractual requirement to keep up with some of the latest whistles and bells which other facilities have. But the big issue right now is the All Star Game. Paying to make this 10-year-old look even cooler and newer.


The Reds play in a stadium which, financially, would be in the red if county commissioners had not reduced a property tax cut which had been promised when Great American Ball park and Paul Brown Stadium were built. The orange and black play in a facility which would be even more in the red were it not for the tax adjustments.


Currently, the Paul Brown Stadium fund has 2.6 Million dollars in it.  Great American - 3 million. Project out with all the needed and contractually required improvements, and the football stadium is 11million dollars in the hole and the baseball park is at zero.


Now the Reds want to speed up some of their improvements to be ready by the 2015 All Star Game.  County Commissioner Greg Hartmann says there is no way there will be a tax increase  "I think the reds understand we don't have the money sitting around in that fund we've talked about to front load and pay for five million in expenses that might not have come until later.  There's an understanding that. I don't view this as a confrontational negotiation. Those rights were given away by county commissioners a long time ago."


In other words, Hartmann expects the reds to kick in, as they once did for a new scoreboard.  The Bengals also want a new scoreboard. They have the contractual right to demand it. Hartmann expects cooperation there too: "The history with the Bengals has been different. Past commissioners sued the Bengals and lost two times and caused animosity. Those days are over and they've shown a willingness to share costs."


Sometime in the next few  weeks, county commissioners will meet to figure out how to balance the stadium fund in the future. It's balanced through 2014 thanks to lowering  the property tax rollback, But each year the commission has to vote on how to balance the fund. Commissioner Hartmann says the balance has been on a shoestring each time.


The Stadium Fund, which pays for construction debt and ongoing repairs for Great American and Paul Brown

was supposed to be covered by the sales tax.


But sales taxes never came in as high as original projections, leading to the annual problem of covering the shortfall.

 The zoo levy is a renewal.  It is not an increase over previous levies.




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