CLEVELAND — Editor's Note: The above video features coverage of the old "Indians" sign being taken down at Progressive Field.
Cuyahoga County Council took a huge step towards keeping the Cleveland Guardians at Progressive Field for at least the next 15 years on Tuesday.
Council approved a $202.5 million dollar lease extension deal to renovate the ballpark as part of the overall $435 million package that was agreed upon by the MLB club and Gateway in August. A similar measure is being considered by Cleveland City Council and must be approved for the new lease deal to begin next year.
The vote by Cuyahoga County Council was 9-1 with only Councilman Michael Gallagher opting to reject the lease deal.
The agreement in August came with the backing of Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish to keep the Guardians at Progressive Field until at least 2036. The team agreed to stay in exchange for a major upgrade to the aging ballpark.
"Progressive Field belongs to the public and we have to keep it up as a first class facility. That is our responsibililty," Budish told the council prior to their vote. "The improvements to the field are necessary to keep the team here. There are cities around the country looking to attract a baseball team. We're fortunate because the Dolan family (Guardians owners) want to keep the team in Cleveland. We still have to provide a competitive lease and that's what we've done."
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.
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