CLEVELAND — Editor's Note: The above video features previous reporting on the Progressive Field renovation plan
The proposed $435 million renovation plan for Progressive Field is continuing to move its way through both Cleveland City Council and Cuyahoga County Council.
On Tuesday, Cuyahoga County Council's Committee of the Whole unanimously voted to send the resolution back to the full council for a second reading. The next meeting is scheduled for October 26.
The Indians/Guardians and Gateway agreed to a deal in August – with the backing of Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish – that would keep the team at Progressive Field until at least 2036. The team agreed to stay in exchange for a major upgrade to the aging ballpark.
The cost to the city, Cuyahoga County, and state of Ohio would be $19 million per year. Cleveland would pay $8 million annually, the county would add another $9 million, and the state would provide $2 million per year. The Guardians are contributing $150 million.
Cuyahoga County's contribution would come from its general fund as well as its Bed Tax and Sin Tax collections.
During Tuesday's meeting, the public was given the opportunity to voice their opinion about the complex project. Reaction seemed to be mixed.
North Royalton City Council President Paul Marnecheck spoke out for the Progressive Field renovation plan. "While the ballpark is located in downtown Cleveland, the benefits do ripple out to all of Cuyahoga County," he told the committee. "It generates tax revenue, job creation, and other economic upsides that benefit every community in Cuyahoga County. There are thousands of jobs that are tied directly or indirectly to Progressive Field."
County resident Sally Hanley had other concerns.
"I love Cleveland. Cleveland is a great city to live in. But we also know that Cleveland is one of the poorest cities in the country. This really makes me wonder if spending this much money on Progressive Field makes sense with all of these unmet needs," she said. “I really have to wonder why we would be doing this for the team owner, who is a billionaire. He’s the one that would mostly be benefitting from all of the park upgrades.”
Representatives of the Gateway Economic Development Corporation were at the meeting to answer questions from council members on topics ranging from workforce diversity to risks of cost overruns. The Guardians were represented at the meeting by Alex King, senior vice president of marketing and strategy. King told the council that the team is looking at ways to make their pricing more family friendly.
The Progressive Field renovation plan is also currently being considered by Cleveland City Council. The proposal calls for the new lease deal to begin in January of 2022.
You can watch the Committee of the Whole Meeting in the player below:
- Cleveland City Council's Finance Committee holds discussion on $435 million Progressive Field lease extension plan
- The Final Goodbye: Fans cherish memories after team plays final home game as Cleveland Indians
- Details of $435 million Progressive Field deal released
- Cleveland Indians reach agreement to renovate Progressive Field, extend lease through 2036