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Government and Politics

Browns send Cleveland the bill for stadium upgrades
Councilman Jeff Johnson opposes the $30 million the city will spend over 15 years, says money should go to neighborhoods not a scoreboard

Reporter / Host
Jeff St. Clair
A massive scoreboard will cost $20 million as part of the $120 million upgrade of the Browns stadium. Councilman Jeff Johnson says that money should stay in Cleveland neighborhoods.
Courtesy of Cleveland Browns
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In The Region:

The Cleveland Browns handed Cleveland city council a bill today for its share of the $120 million renovation of FirstEnergy stadium. 

WKSU’s Jeff St.Clair reports, at least one councilman is suffering from sticker shock.

LISTEN: Cleveland gets bill for stadium upgrades

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The Browns unveiled plans last week for upgrades to the city-owned stadium, calling for massive new video screens, an enhanced sound system, and two new escalators.  The overall bill is $120 million.

The NFL is loaning the team more than half that, and the Browns have now worked out a deal with Mayor Frank Jackson for Cleveland to cover another $42 million of the renovations.

Councilman Jeff Johnson says Cleveland will give the Browns $2 million a year for 15 years.

“And that money comes from a pot called capital budget, that is money that normally goes into the neighborhoods for rec centers and streets.  That’s that pot of money.  And then it’s taking $12 million out of the ‘sin tax’ pot that we have, that has accumulated, and they’re taking $12 million out of the $24 million dollar pot.”

But Johnson says he’s not sure the terms of the city’s lease requires what he feels are extravagant expenditures.

“They want $20 million of the money we’re giving to go toward this scoreboard, which I think is unacceptable.”

While Johnson prefers the money stay in the neighborhoods, he acknowledges the Mayor, and the Browns likely have the ten votes needed to pass the spending plan.

Council will votes on the $42 million package on December 2nd.   

(Click image for larger view.)

Listener Comments:

why not help the team to help the city... better stadium will attract locals like me to come see their team. i know almost all of dayton and columbus are browns fans who think there is nothing special about leaving home to see the game at the same old stadium. more travelers mean more money for local buisnesses like gas stations, hotels, resturants, ect... and when the team starts winning more games like they have shown they already are the stadium will sell out every game. find a way to cash out on the local attraction... aka the new stadium

Posted by: kemen (cincinnati) on November 19, 2013 7:11AM
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