ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – One of the biggest local political contests involves the proposed retractable roof ballpark for the Texas Rangers. Arlington residents on Tuesday will decide whether or not to approve an extension of sales, hotel and rental car taxes, currently being used to pay for AT&T Stadium, to finance the new ballpark.
The Rangers have called (now) Globe Life Park home for 22 years. The club’s 30-year lease is up in 2024. To make sure that the team stays put, city officials want to build a new entertainment complex that includes a stadium with a retractable roof — a deal that would extend the contract for another 30 years.
But voters seem to have mixed feelings.
Those in support of the proposal have mentioned the money that baseball crowds bring to the city. “The Rangers bring a huge economic impact to Arlington,” said one voter.
“While I was torn on the issue, I love the idea of new construction around here and really rebuilding Arlington,” a voter added on Tuesday, “so I voted in favor of the new stadium project.”
“We are voting for the ballpark. We want to keep the Rangers in Arlington. We love the Rangers,” said another voter.
Others expressed opinions against the proposal. One person explained that there is already too much activity in Arlington’s entertainment district. “It’s too congested already as it is,” that voter said. “That’s just giving more reason for people to come out.”
Another voter was leery of the costs. “I don’t want my taxes raised,” that individual added. “I don’t believe all the information has been given to us.”
“I like the stadium and I like it in Arlington,” another voter said, “however, I’m a traditionalist and I would like to keep our old things.”
About two-thirds of likely voters cast their ballots before Election Day with another 40,000 voters expected to be at the polls on Tuesday.
The ballpark is expected to cost at least $1 billion, and the City of Arlington’s contribution would be capped at $500 million.
If approved, the deal would be a public-private partnership. Officials said that the rest of the money could come from different areas like a $3 parking tax Rangers parking and a ticket tax for fans. up to 10 percent of any ticket costs
If voters give it their okay, officials said that the new ballpark could be ready for the start of the 2021 MLB season.
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