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Sports


Cleveland Council decides tonight if Browns stadium gets $30 million
Team says the city is getting one of the best deals in the NFL
by WKSU's KEVIN NIEDERMIER


Reporter
Kevin Niedermier
 
Browns President Joe Banner says council has good questions and he hopes he answered them well enough to swing tonight's vote.
Courtesy of KEVIN NIEDERMIER
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In The Region:

Cleveland City Council will vote this evening on the city’s proposed share of a $120 million renovation project at the Brown’s FirstEnergy Stadium.  
As WKSU’s Kevin Niedermier reports, council questioned officials from the team and the city for four hours today about the funding plan.

LISTEN: Niedermier on the stadium pros and cons

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Under the city-owned stadium’s lease agreement with the Browns, Cleveland must help pay for capital improvements, as well as annual maintenance.

Under the deal struck last week by Mayor Frank Jackson, the city would provide $2 million a year for 15years for the renovations. That $30 million will help pay for new scoreboards and other enhancements.

Some council members are balking, saying the general fund dollars should be spent on more police or street repairs.  Some questioned whether or not the city is even obligated to fund enhancements, and wanted more time to review the agreement.

During the meeting, they grilled Brown’s CEO Joe Banner about the deal. He told them few NFL host cities have deals this good.Afterwards, he was anticipating tonight’s  vote: 

"They wouldn't be doing their job if they didn't have some concerns, and I actually pleased that I felt like a meaningful was actually supportive."
Those who weren't he says, had legitimate questions that he thinks the team answered adequately.

Banner says upgrades to the 14-year-old facility are necessary to keep the stadium among the top 15 in the league, another stipulation in the lease agreement struck back in 1996, when Cleveland was trying to get a new team after the Browns left for Baltimore.

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