Monday, August 25, 2008

Sarpy County Needs "Creativity" to Pay for Ballpark

Today, the Omaha World-Herald provided more details about how Sarpy County might pay for a new ballpark. And still looks as shaky as it always has.

The primary tool? A tax incentive from the state that's been already rejected twice: once to build Cabelas (which ended up being built anyway) and once to build a downtown Omaha stadium for the Royals. Of course, since the downtown stadium is being built anyway, I guess that means that this stadium might still happen anyway...

But like the downtown Omaha stadium, the initial estimate ($30 million? hahahaha) is coming in a wee bit low. The World-Herald looked at three AAA other stadiums being built, and how they are being financed:

Gwinnett County, Georgia: 7500 seats, $45 million. $12 million from county reserves, $33 million from bonds to be repaid using rent, a seat tax, naming rights, rental car taxes, and parking fees.

Columbus, Ohio: 7600 seats, $55 million. Columbus is chipping in $9+ million, stadium revenues, corporate sponsorships, and suite rentals will pay off $42.5 million in bonds. The state of Ohio is also going to pay an unspecified amount.

Reno, Nevada: 6500 seats, $50 million + land costs. $27 million paid through an increased statewide tax on rental cars. ( rent a car in Vegas, you're paying for new baseball stadium in Reno.)

Anybody see a formula for paying for a $40-$50 million stadium in Sarpy County? Nope. In fact, this looks like the same deal that failed in Omaha. Car rental taxes? Google shows me 11 car rental places in Sarpy County. With no airport, that's not going to yield much. Parking fees? Bwhahahaha!

Your tax money at work? Well, if Sarpy takes their pitch for state tax dollars back to the Legislature for a third go-round... you bet. That's looking like the only way a Chalco or Gretna baseball park happens.

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