Nashville’s new football stadium won’t be a burden

  • John Cooper is the ninth mayor in the county government of Metro Nashville-Davidson.
  • We are working on plans for a new stadium as doing nothing is not an option, and renovating the current stadium would be financially irresponsible.
  • Tourists and spending around the stadium will pay for this project, not Nashville families.

For 18 months, I have been working together with the Tennessee Titans and our valued state partners to explore all stadium options that make financial sense, provide benefits to our community, and keep the Titans in Tennessee for generations to come.

I want to take stock of the process and share the principles that guided my thinking about a stadium solution.

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Doing nothing is not an option

Currently, under the original lease, Nashville taxpayers must pay tens of millions of dollars annually for stadium maintenance and upgrades.

These are general funds we need for other critical priorities that impact neighborhoods and families – like our public schools, first responders, homelessness and housing. The lease obligates Nashville to provide a “first-class” stadium through 2038, an obligation that now means either renovating the current stadium or building a new stadium.

Doing nothing means continuing to burden the Metro General Fund — an unacceptable status quo that will cost Nashville hundreds of millions of dollars.

A win for taxpayers

Equally important to me is the obligation I feel to you – the obligation that we don’t use your property taxes for a stadium contract.

Today, I’m thrilled to share that through working with the Titans and the state government, we’re approaching a stadium solution that, unlike our current arrangement, won’t strain Metro’s general fund. .

As a city, we are in a different place today than we were 26 years ago. Nashville voters made a smart bet by approving $144 million in sports authority bonds and general bonds for the construction of a stadium. Nashville and the entire state have benefited immensely from the Titans’ presence here, and now we have the opportunity to extend those benefits by removing the city from stadium maintenance activities.

We initially pursued renovations to Nissan Stadium, which were estimated to cost $600 million, but after factoring in rising interest rates, inflation, deferred maintenance and aging infrastructure, the cost has risen to over a billion dollars.

In addition, the current lease obligates the taxpayer until 2038, which further increases our exposure. Some of the stadium’s most basic infrastructure is nearing the end of its useful life. Rather than pour over a billion dollars into an aging stadium, we began working with the Titans and the state on the idea of ​​building a new gated stadium for Nashville.

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Teamwork with the State and the hotel industry

To finance the construction of a new closed stadium, the the state committed $500 million and passed legislation allowing for an increase in the hotel-motel tax, which the hotel industry supports.

In case of overruns, I asked that they be covered by the Titans. I will not sell public land, raise sales tax, or spend your property tax money to fund the stadium.

Tourists and expenses around the stadium will pay for this project, not your family.

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We are working on plans for a new stadium as doing nothing is not an option, and renovating the current stadium would be financially irresponsible. As we approach a final stadium proposal, here are my commitments to you:

  • Under no circumstances will property or sales tax increases pay for stadium construction or future stadium maintenance or renovations.
  • The primary source of funding for stadium construction will be the Titans and visitors to Nashville and the stadium campus. Taxpayers will be protected in the event of overruns.
  • The Titans will assume financial responsibility for stadium upkeep, removing Metro’s general fund as financial support.
  • Any new deal will force the Titans to stay in Nashville for the long term.
  • Metro will not sell any of the land it owns on the East Bank to fund the stadium.
  • Metro will work with the Titans to ensure well-paying jobs, meaningful participation from minority entrepreneurs, parks and green spaces, affordable housing, and a welcoming environment for Nashville residents that integrates the stadium into the community vision of the surrounding neighborhood.

This is a challenging and exciting time for our city. The Titans and Governor Lee, along with his colleagues at the state level, have been great partners throughout this process, and I am committed to securing the future of the Titans in Nashville in a way that protect taxpayers.

John Cooper is the ninth mayor in the county government of Metro Nashville-Davidson.

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