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The Dynamo Stadium rally

Dynamo fans have their say about the East End stadium plan and the need for Commissioners Court to get involved for the current financing plan to happen.

Houston East End Chamber of Commerce President Diane Lipton said it’s important for the county to join the effort to revitalize the disadvantaged neighborhood.

Standing on the proposed site of the stadium, Lipton gestured at the abandoned industrial buildings and empty fields nearby and pledged the blight would be replaced by restaurants, clubs and thriving businesses if the project moves forward.

“The East End is ready for economic growth,” added Hedy Wolpa, interim president of the Greater East End Management District. “An investment here in the East End will be a tremendous value to Houston.”

Well, if the deal eventually falls through, you can’t say it wasn’t because the locals didn’t want it. Whether this is enough to sway Commissioners Garcia and Lee, I couldn’t say. But the more of this there is, the better the chances. While letters and phone calls are your best bet, the revised petition for the Dynamo is here.

Naturally, whenever this topic comes up, someone will say “What about the Astrodome?”. That happens in the comments to that Houston Politics post as well as in today’s letters to the editor. I’ve said plenty about why that’s not going to happen, but let’s just keep this one thing in mind: Between maintenance and debt service, the Astrodome costs Harris County something like a few hundred grand a year. The Dynamo would be doing the county a big favor by turning it from an albatross into something that would generate revenue. The only circumstance under which they would do that is if they got something sweet in return; a complete renovation of the Dome would be first on that list. It’s simply not possible that the county could be on the hook for less money up front to foist the Dome on the Dynamo than they would be for the downtown stadium. If the county is going to have a stake in the Dynamo’s stadium situation at all, the cheapest option by far is the TIRZ plan. I really don’t know why this is so hard for some people to grasp.

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2 Comments

  1. joewhite says:

    Why is it so hard to grasp that subsidizing business, whether it is automakers or sports franchises, is a bad economic decision? See this paper mentioned by the American Institute for Economic Research which shows the near unanimity among economists against such stadia.

  2. ExFed says:

    The use of increased tax revenues from a TIRZ is good public policy and is in fact a good economic decision.

    In this case the Dynamo organization is proposing to spent upwards of $50 million of their own money to build a stadium in the blighted East End of downtown Houston.

    The City of Houston has agreed to invest $10 million of the anticipated increased tax revenues raised in that area (the TIRZ 15) in the project.

    The County is being asked to join in the TIRZ and invest another $10 million.

    The point of all this is that if the stadium is not built – there will not be any revitalization of the area and correspondingly no increased tax revenues to invest.

    The only investment of public funds taking place is through the increased revenues raised as a result of the improvements in the area that come about because of the stadium being built.

    A prime example of this kind of government involvement in private enterprise is the Houston Pavilions project.

    Houston and the County are cooperating on a number of TIRZ’s in order to revitalize areas of the Houston Metro area.

    This is not a Texans, Rockets, or Astro’s deal – where the city or county is being expected to float bonds and build stadiums with no participation from the owners of those teams. This is a proposal by an organization that is going to spend their own money to build the project with some participation by local government. I don’t know why this is so hard for anyone who knows anything about TIRZ’s to grasp