It's John Royal's Anniversary, and He's Celebrating with Stadium Talk

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One year ago today I wrote my first post for Houstoned Ballz – I’m still not sold on that title – and I used the space to say that Brad Lidge was on his way to another disastrous season. I’m not writing about baseball today. There’s no need to get too depressed, at least not until the season starts. Instead, I’m going to respond to some reader mail I got.

A regular commenter recently sent me a note asking about the latest on the Houston Dynamo stadium situation. I’m not going to reveal his name, because I don’t want to ruin his reputation, but I thought the least I could do for someone who’s been reading me for the better part of a year was to answer his question.

So here you go.

The basic thing is this: The Dynamo have set a deadline of April 1 for the team and the city to come to an agreement for the proposed stadium, which is to be located on a site just east of Highway 59, across from the George R. Brown and Minute Maid Park. The city has purchased five downtown blocks at the proposed site and has an agreement to swap other city-owned property for a sixth block. But apparently the Dynamo have been in discussions with Drayton McLane and Bob McNair, because what was originally to be a deal where the city provides the land and infrastructure for a site that the team will pay to build the stadium on has become a deal where the Dynamo want the city chipping in my hard-earned tax dollars as well.

AEG, the team’s current co-owner, will handle the brunt of the financing, but it really wants much more cash coming from the city. But Mayor Bill White told the Chron, “We're not in the business of providing most of the money for these facilities as was done with other (arena) venues, with public funds.”

But here’s what pisses me off. While White’s claiming there won’t be lots of funding coming from the city, he’s already committed the city to spending $15.5 million for those five blocks of land before the damn team has even committed to playing on the site. That seems rather fucking stupid to me. The team knows the city is committed to this deal; so now the city has no damn bargaining chip. The city is now stuck with this damn land, and while White says private uses will be sought for the land, it’s obvious the best use for this land is now as a stadium.

Dynamo management have made it known they can work out a deal in the suburbs now. So because of the city’s stupidity, there is no leverage and we taxpayers will probably get stuck building another damn stadium for a rich owner who doesn’t really need any help.

Hopefully, they won’t build anything as frigging ugly as MMP. But what do I know? I’m just a blogger. -- John Royal

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