Cooper announces plan to build new Titans stadium without burdening taxpayers

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – Nashville Mayor John Cooper has unveiled a plan to help fund a new stadium for Tennessee fans without the taxpayer burden on Davidson County residents.

In an opinion column published on The Tennessean’s website, the mayor said the city is currently required to provide a “class one” stadium through 2038, a commitment that means either renovating the existing stadium or building a new one.

Cooper said he’s worked alongside Titans and state partners over the past 18 months to explore all stadium options that make financial sense, provide benefits to the community and keep Titans in Tennessee for generations to come.

The city is currently in a bind for millions of dollars a year to maintain and improve the stadium under the current lease.

“Doing nothing means continuing to burden the General Metro Fund — an unacceptable current situation that will cost Nashville hundreds of millions of dollars,” he said.

Cooper said that by cooperating with the Titans and the state government, the new stadium solution would not overburden the public fund.

The state approved $500 million in revenue bonds during the budget process last month to go toward raising funds for a new stadium, which could cost nearly $2 billion. The legislature also approved legislation allowing a 1% hotel and motel tax hike in Davidson County.

“To finance the construction of a new indoor stadium, the state has allocated $500 million and passed legislation allowing an increase in the hotel and hostel tax, which is supported by the hospitality industry,” Cooper wrote in his opinion column.

“In the case of construction excesses, I asked that they be covered by the Titans. I will not sell public land, increase sales tax, or spend your property tax dollars to finance the stadium.”

“The Giants share Mayor Cooper’s commitment to collaboration and partnership as we attempt to craft the best and most responsible solution for the stadium’s long-term future. We look forward to continuing an open and constructive dialogue with the management, council and Nashville residents as we determine how the stadium can best serve our community for years to come.”

The new stadium will be built on land adjacent to the existing Nissan Stadium.

The Titans confirmed last week that Manica Architecture had been selected for the initial design for the new stadium.

“As a city, we are in a different place today than we were 26 years ago. Nashville voters made a smart beet by approving $144 million in Sports Authority Bonds and General Commitment Bonds to build a stadium,” Cooper wrote. “Both Nashville and the entire state have benefited greatly from having the Titans here, and now we have the opportunity to extend those benefits by taking the city out of stadium maintenance.”

Cooper explained in the column that the city and the team initially conducted renovations to the Nissan Stadium at an estimated cost of $600 million. After taking into account high interest rates, inflation, deferred maintenance and aging infrastructure, the cost rose to more than $1 billion.

“We are working on plans to build a new stadium because doing nothing is not an option, and renovating the existing stadium would be financially irresponsible,” Cooper wrote. “Some of the stadium’s core infrastructure is nearing the end of its lifespan.

“Instead of pouring over a billion dollars into an old stadium, we started working with the Titans and the state on the idea of ​​building a new indoor stadium for Nashville.”

Cooper recorded his obligations to the Nashville taxpayer as part of the final stadium proposal.

  • Under no circumstances will property tax or sales tax pay for the costs of stadium construction, stadium maintenance or future renovation
  • The primary funding source for the construction of the stadium will be the Titans and visitors to Nashville and the stadium’s campus. Taxpayers will be protected in the event of construction overrun.
  • The Giants will take financial responsibility for the stadium’s upkeep, scrapping the Metro Public Fund as the financial mainstay.
  • Any new deal will result in the Giants staying in Nashville for the long term.
  • Metro will not sell any of the land it owns on the East Bank in order to finance the stadium.
  • Metro will work with the Titans to secure high-paying jobs, meaningful minority contractor engagement, parks and green spaces, affordable housing, and a welcoming environment for Nashville residents that integrates the stadium into the community’s vision for the surrounding neighborhood.

Cooper has emphasized in several interviews that the city does not build sports stadiums and that he does not want to burden taxpayers with building a new stadium.

“We don’t work in the stadium business. We’re in the kids education business, we’re on a safer street and road,” Cooper said in an interview in March. Not in the field of entertainment or the stadiums themselves.”

At-Large Metro Council member Sharon Hurt praised Cooper’s efforts to keep stadium funding away from Metro’s taxpayers.

“As a member of the At-Large Council, I have not always agreed with Mayor Cooper and his priorities, and frankly that is unlikely to change. While this project will, of course, require a great deal of review and explanation, I am first and foremost a Nashville, and so I say amen, when Amen earns. I commend the mayor for his work and his administration for their work thus far and I wholeheartedly support his “commitments to the city.”

“As a member of the At-Large Council, I have not always agreed with Mayor Cooper and his priorities, and frankly that is unlikely to change. While this project will, of course, require a great deal of revision and interpretation, I am first and foremost a Nashville, and therefore Amen , when he earns an Amen,” Hurt said in a statement. “I applaud the mayor for his work and his management of their work to date and wholeheartedly support his ‘commitments’ to the city.”

“This is a challenging and exciting moment for our city,” Cooper wrote at the conclusion of his opinion column. “Titans and Governor Lee, along with his colleagues statewide, have been wonderful partners throughout this process, and I am committed to securing the future of the Titans in Nashville in a way that protects taxpayers.”

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