Cuyahoga County to cover $60M worth of stadium renovations

The Cle

CLEVELAND (AP) – A northeast Ohio county plans to use a bond issue and revenue from the so-called sin tax on alcohol and cigarettes to foot the bill for more than $60 million worth of repairs and upgrades to the homes of both the Cleveland Indians and Cavaliers.

Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish introduced legislation Tuesday to cover expenses through the sale of $65 million in bonds that will be repaid by the county’s latest 20-year tax on alcohol and cigarettes.

The repayment will be the first proposed distribution of revenue from the tax, which is expected to raise $260 million for Progressive Field, Quicken Loans Arena and FirstEnergy Stadium – the home of the Cleveland Browns. The county began collecting the renewed tax in August.

Under its leases with Cleveland’s professional baseball and basketball franchises, the county is required to cover the costs of the renovations, the Northeast Ohio Media Group reported. The upgrades include a new scoreboard for the Indians at Progressive Field and a new roof for the Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena.

The nonprofit Gateway Economic Development Corp. owns the baseball and basketball facilities and enforces the team leases on behalf of the county. Gateway’s board has already vetted the proposed improvements and agreed they fall within the lease obligations.

The teams have said they hope the tax revenue will be split evenly among the three stadiums. The County Council has yet to make a decision on how the money will be divided.

Information from: Northeast Ohio Media Group

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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