Fort Worth council officially commits to financially backing arena

By Scott Nishimura

Fort Worth City Council members on Tuesday formally committed the city to participate in the construction of a new Will Rogers Memorial Center multipurpose arena at up to $225 million, half the projected cost.

“We’re on the trail, move for approval,” Council member Dennis Shinglteton, whose district includes Will Rogers, said in making the council’s motion for approval.

“It’s the first step,” Mayor Betsy Price said.

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The city’s commitment includes:

  • Three taxes approved by voters in November: a tax on each ticket sold to events at the arena, at up to 10 percent of the admission price; a maximum $20 tax on each livestock pen occupied during an event; and a maximum $5 parking tax on each motor vehicle parking at the arena.
  • The state’s share of incremental growth in hotel and mixed-beverage taxes collected in a three-mile radius around the arena;
  • The city’s share of incremental growth in those taxes in the same radius;
  • Other revenue the city may deem appropriate.

The nonprofit Event Facilities Fort Worth has committed to raising at least half the projected $450 million cost of the arena, capping the city’s cost at half, and taking on any overruns.

The city council vote was the next step in the arena’s process, after voters approved the funding measures.

The state has already begun setting aside its share of the incremental growth in hotel and mixed-beverage taxes.