Arlington voters will be asked to approve public spending on a new Texas Rangers retractable-roof ballpark on the November election ballot after a unanimous 9-0 approval today from the City Council.
The proposal would keep taxes already being used to fund AT&T Stadium, home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, to pay a public portion of the billion-dollar replacement for Globe Life Park. The public contribution is between $500 million and consists of an existing half-cent sales tax, 2 percent hotel occupancy tax and 5 percent car rental tax. Opponents say that new taxes (a 10 percent ticket tax and a $3 parking tax) are part of the mix; Arlington officials say that there are no new taxes. That the issue passed was not a surprise; that it passed unanimously may not have been anticipated when the whole process started.
The Rangers issued the following statement:
“The Rangers are excited about the possibility of calling Arlington home for many years to come, and we are committed to building a world-class facility with a retractable roof which will provide the best possible experience for our fans for baseball and special events. We are very appreciative to the Arlington City Council in taking today’s action to put this proposition on the November ballot and let the voters decide. The Rangers look forward to working with Mayor Jeff Williams, the City leaders, and the citizens of Arlington over the next several months to insure that this dream becomes a reality.”
Opponents say they’re ready for a fight. From the Dallas News:
Now that the election is officially on the calendar, stadium opponents vowed to turn their focus toward defeating the measure.
“It was expected, but we’re ready to go,” said Kelly Cannon, a member of the anti-stadium group Citizens for a Better Arlington. “We are going to campaign our butts off. We were hoping they would correct some of the ballot language. We have some issues with that, and we have no idea how the Texas Ethics Commission is going to respond to our lawsuit.”
The group filed suit against the city and a pro-stadium political action committee, alleging false advertising and a failure to provide the total amount of bonds to be authorized by the city.
The city approval also allows planning for a Texas Life entertainment district to move forward. The city and the Rangers were planning on the $200-million entertainment district when the decision to go for a new ballpark was made; those plans were put on hold while debate on the new ballpark began. The Texas Live development is expected to include restaurants/bars, entertainment venues and a high-end hotel.
If the ballpark is approved by voters, it could open as early as 2020 or 2021.
Image courtesy Populous.
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