Friday, January 4, 2013

Target Field: Good Template For A New Fenway

Why Not A Waterfront 'New Fenway'?
Every time anyone raises the issue of a new Fenway Park (something we have advocated for the last 13 years), critics point to the public-funding horror shows in Miami and Cincinnati. But nobody ever talks about the new stadium success stories. Well, here's one. The publicly-financed portion of the Twins' Target Field ($350 million of the total $555 million project) is scheduled to be paid off a full decade ahead of schedule. Of course, we feel that the owners of the Red Sox should have stepped up and built a new, 21st century replicate of Fenway on their own—but there should be some room for discussing a public funding option. In Minnesota, a relatively low, broad-based 0.15 percent county sales tax has raised more than enough cash even in a crap economy. Recession-induced lower interest rates helped as well. The quicker than expected payoff will also mean the elimination of the sales tax—something that would never happen in Massachusetts where every tax becomes permanent. Nevertheless, the Twins have shown that this process can work. Excuses to the contrary from the NOG just don't wash.