Chicago: Fire stadium pulling public finances down

source: ChicagoTribune.com

Chicago: Fire stadium pulling public finances down It was supposed to bring new life to Bridgeview, one of Chicago’s suburbs. But instead, Toyota Park stadium proved an anchor and may prove to be the reason of Bridgeview sinking now. A Chicago Tribune report.

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It’s been almost a decade since Bridgeview started luring Chicago Fire, one of USA’s top football clubs, to relocate there from too large Soldier Field. Building a new 20,000-seat stadium proved very costly with price tag almost reaching $100 million ($98m, exactly). But authorities were certain to pay debt with increased commercial revenues.

At the time of construction mayor Steven Landek informed rating agency Standard & Poor’s that annual revenues should reach $8 million. But this never happened with highest figure so far (from 2007) only exceeding $2.5 million, barely.

This year expected revenues were lowered first to $4m, then to $3 million. But with current economic situation this still seems overly optimistic. As Chicago Tribune reveals, last year accounted for, 2011, showed only $600,000 in Toyota Park revenues.

Despite promises that the stadium will not need taxpayers’ bailout, taxes have risen some three times over the last decade and may be about to go up again. Not until 2014, Chicago Tribune suggests, as the town just received a $27 million loan to cover some of its debt. This should last for 2013, but no solution seems to be in place for the long term, though.

Even more, the newspaper reports that Bridgeview never had, nor has now, a feasibility study for the project they were so sure to bring prosperity to the town.

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