ARLINGTON (CBS11) – A big decision will soon be in the hands of Arlington voters.
The Arlington City Council voted Tuesday night for a referendum on a new billion-dollar Texas Rangers ballpark.
Dozens of supporters and opponents packed City Hall before the vote.
Parker Vandergriff brought out a special baseball to make the most important pitch of his life.
“This is the very first pitch thrown in 1972,” said Vandergriff.
He’s the grandson of Tom Vandergriff who brought the Rangers to Texas as Arlington mayor more than 40 years ago.
Tuesday night, the young Vandergriff argued to keep them here before the city council as well as the $77 million a year in economic impact.
“I can’t imagine life without the Rangers if we lose them we lose really the heartbeat of the economy here,” said Vandergriff.
The city has tentatively agreed to put up $500 million for a new retractable roof ballpark.
It would replace Globe Life Park and paid for by extending a hotel, car rental tax that’s been used since 2004 to build AT&T Stadium.
More than two dozen opponents argued that they expected that tax to expire not be extended.
“A half percent isn’t a lot but it’s taking money out of my pocket,” says Laura Rae, an Arlington resident who set up a mock go fund me page for the Rangers owners to get the extra $500 million.
So far it’s collected $5.
“They are billionaires they can go to a bank, oh they’ve got money they can reach into their pocket put your own money on the table,” said Rae.
Despite the opposition the council approved the deal and ordered a referendum in November.
Opponents are already complaining that the city is rushing the referendum to schedule it on the same day as the presidential election because a big turnout would benefit supporters as it did in 2004 when the Cowboys deal was approved.
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