CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Cleveland Planning Commission approved the Cleveland Browns design or “conceptual plan” to renovate Browns Stadium.
The project must go before City Council before there’s any final approval.
But who pays for the renovation and future repairs still up in the air.
While the look of the plan was approved, one Planning Commissioner, Norman Krumholz,, voted no saying he was protesting any plan to renovate First Energy Stadium until it’s decided who exactly is paying for the renovations.
Krumholz doesn’t want taxpayers to foot the bill for upgrades.
The Browns plan to $120 million dollars in upgrades to the 15-year-old stadium on the shores of Lake Erie. Renovations include bigger video scoreboards, more escalators to the upper deck, a better sound system and seats closer to the field.
The Browns and the NFL have half of the money, but who will pay for the other half isn’t known. The Browns said they are in discussions with the city.
Cleveland City Councilman Mike Polensek said the Browns are interested in making more money by selling more advertising on bigger scoreboards and that putting in bigger scoreboards means reducing the stadium by 3,000 seats.
Polensek expects the Browns will make up that by charging more money for season ticket prices, but 3,000 fewer seats mean not as many people coming downtown to spend money in the local economy.
Polesek favors the city loaning the Browns the money for renovations and the Browns would pay it back, so long as none of the money for renovations comes out of the city’s general fund.
Meanwhile the sin tax on alcohol and cigarettes in Cuyahoga County that pays for nearly $1 million a year in stadium repairs expires in 2015.
Whether taxpayers be asked to extend the sin tax in 2015 hasn’t been decided.
The City of Cleveland owns the stadium and leases it to the Browns.
Article and Picture Courtesy of WEWS NewsChannel 5