Report: Effort to keep Rams in St. Louis hooks taxpayers for $3 million
It turns out trying to keep an NFL team from leaving town can be costly for taxpayers, too.
According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, more than $3 million in public funds have been used in efforts aimed at preventing the Rams from relocating. The figure is based on invoices released this week slated to be paid almost entirely by the public St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority -- owner and operator of the Edward Jones Dome.
HOK, an architectural firm, reportedly submitted invoices for $2.2 million in costs associated with plans for a proposed downtown St. Louis stadium on the banks of the Mississippi River for the Rams. The stadium’s design and construction manager has billed the authority for more than $190,000 and attorneys have submitted fees for $260,000. The state is paying costs related to financial advice tied to the effort, the report said.
“At some point, we’re going to have to get some of this money back from the state,” Jim Shrewsbury, the authority’s board chairman, told the newspaper.
Shrewsbury said the expenditures were necessary to help prevent the Rams from leaving.
The Rams have a year-to-year lease to play in the Edward Jones Dome and could leave St. Louis as early as 2016. NFL owners will take part in a special meeting in Chicago in August to discuss the progress of two Los Angeles NFL stadium proposals.
In January, Rams owner Stan Kroenke unveiled plans to build an 80,000-seat NFL stadium as part of a $1.86-billion privately financed commercial venue on the former site of Hollywood Park in Inglewood. Kroenke hasn’t said publicly whether he wants to move the Rams back to the Los Angeles market, where they played from 1946 to 1994.
The Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers unveiled plans in February for a joint stadium project located in Carson.
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