Cowboys Stadium Financing Passes in Arlington
By Maria Hickey, KERA 90.1 Reporter
Dallas, TX –
Robert Cluck, Mayor of Arlington, Texas: Ladies and gentleman, we've won!
Maria Hickey, KERA 90.1 Reporter: Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck addressed more than 500 people in a hotel ballroom filled with blue and white balloons and confetti and lots of Cowboy paraphernalia.
Cluck: The only thing this city council wanted was for voters to decide on this issue, and the voters have decided!
Hickey: The final vote in favor of the stadium was 55%, with 45% against. Residents agreed to a half-cent sales tax increase, as well as raising taxes for car rentals and hotels, to pay for the stadium. Many of the people who turned out for the pro-stadium party, including Mike Escobedo, said the $650 million stadium will be an economic boon to the city.
Mike Escobedo, Arlington resident: The Cowboys are such a nationwide franchise - world-wide - everybody knows the Cowboys, so it's just great for the city of Arlington to be associated with that.
Hickey: The city of Arlington and the Cowboys have tentatively agreed to a 30-year deal. Arlington will provide up to $325 million for construction of the stadium, while the football team will rent the building for $2 million a year. The Cowboys have also agreed to give the city five percent of naming rights and $16.5 million dollars for youth programs. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told the crowd his team will benefit Arlington.
Jerry Jones, Owner, Dallas Cowboys: I pledge to you with every asset the Cowboys have, every ounce of visibility, every ounce of interest we have across this country, we will use it to basically make Arlington the city that the citizens deserve.
Hickey: The Cowboys didn't win voters' approval for the stadium without a fight. The football team poured more than $5 million into the campaign called "Vote Yes!" and flooded the airwaves with TV commercials. In contrast, opposition groups raised just over $50,000. Across town at the opponents' gathering, small business owner Warren Norred said they did a good job of getting their message out, considering.
Warren Norred, Business Owner, Arlington: At the end of the day, it's hard to fight Staubach, Aikman, and $6 million, once the final tally's made.
Hickey: Opponents, such as Bruce Deramus of Concerned Taxpayers of Arlington, says the tax increases amount to a tax subsidy for millionaire Jerry Jones. In his concession speech, Deramus said there are enough angry people that there could be repercussions for some city officials.
Bruce Deramus, Chairman, Concerned Taxpayers of Arlington: I think it's time we got a new mayor and four new councilmen.
Hickey: But Mayor Cluck extended a hand to the opposition, telling supporters he was everybody's mayor.
Cluck: My job, and I will fulfill this job, is to work as hard as I can to have those who oppose this effort to join us.
Hickey: The stadium will be built near Ameriquest Field, where the Texas Rangers play. If everything goes well, it will open in fall 2009. For KERA 90.1, I'm Maria Hickey.
Email Maria Hickey about this story.