Manatee County unveils taxpayer-financed stadium


Manatee County unveils taxpayer-financed stadium


Date: March 28, 2012
by: Michael Eng | Managing Editor




MANATEE COUNTY — Manatee Parks and Recreation Department officials want this to be a stadium for the people.

And that’s exactly how it will be funded.

In an unprecedented move, Manatee County commissioners last week approved a financing plan to construct a professional football stadium just east of DeSoto Speedway off State Road 64. The county already has negotiated with the private landowner, and officials say construction will be paid through a $600 million, 30-year bond issue at 7.35%.

Several construction companies have entered bids for the project, which will include 65,000 seats under a retractable roof.

“In essence, it’s a smaller version of the new Cowboy Stadium in Dallas,” said Parks and Recreation Department Director Candy Turner said of the design.

Cowboy Stadium is regarded as one of the most elaborate and expensive stadiums in the country.
Once site plans are approved, county officials estimate construction will take three years. To keep costs down, officials said they likely would not hire locally for the construction.

County officials admitted they have not had any discussions with any National Football League team regarding moving to Manatee.

“It’s an, ‘If we build it, they will come,’” said Manatee County Commissioner Larry Bustler. “We are confident an NFL team would find our county an attractive option, and we know our residents will respond with their wallets.”

Bustler said Manatee’s demographics compare favorably to Green Bay, Wis., home of the Packers, one of the NFL’s most storied franchises. At 104,057 residents, Green Bay is about one-third the size of Manatee, he said. Given those statistics, commissioners concluded an NFL team would be successful here.

Turner said she doesn’t expect Manatee’s close proximity to Tampa and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to be a problem.

“They’re really not that good, anyway,” she said.


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Currently 4 Responses

  • 1.
  • Pay for a stadium for 30 years through our taxes like other cities have done and like other teams the average family of four can't afford the cost of tickets to attend a game in a stadium they helped pay for.
  • B F
    Wed 9th May 2012
    at 4:16pm
  • 2.
  • What I find ridiculous, is that we will not hire our own workers from this county, that is a shame. I also agree with the other comments, that we should pay the government workers more, at least a cost of living increase. I have taken cuts in my teaching pay and I make less than I did 5 years ago, well at least I have a job.
  • Kelly Lopez
    Tue 17th Apr 2012
    at 8:13pm
  • 3.
  • I'm not interested in having a stadium in my backyard. I definitely don't want to pay for it. "If We build it, they will come" I am not willing roll the dice and take that chance. I generally support new construction growth, but the idea of a stadium like the one described is not in Manatee's best interest. It's my opinion we do not have a large enough population to support a football team or a stadium of this magnitude. Why can't we provide pay raises to school teachers, police officers, firefighters and other government employees first.
  • T. Townson
    Fri 30th Mar 2012
    at 11:33am
  • 4.
  • I get the feeling this is not a joke! Where and when are the hearings going to held to get taxpayer input. Let's see we're going to go into debt for a uber luxury stadium that has no team - but we're not going to use local labor inorder to save money. The lunatics are in full control of the asylum.
    And I'd also love to know who owns the land and how long they have held it. This whole thing stinks ... while we cut back on schools, teachers, breakfasts for kids??
    Totally disgusting.
  • Terry Glaser-Needell
    Fri 30th Mar 2012
    at 10:27am
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