New seating, new scoreboards and shelter for the fans from the sun and rain.
That's how Miami Dolphins majority owner Stephen Ross envisions Sun Life Stadium after a $400 million renovation for which he hopes the taxpayers will pay half.
"People ask, why don’t you pay for the whole thing," Ross said at a news conference on Monday. "I've spent more on a sports team than anyone else in the United States. There's a limit to how much capital you put into something."
To get the public funding, Ross would be counting on the Legislature to pass a bill that would:
- Increase the six percent limit on hotel bed taxes so county commissioners can collect an extra one percent to give to the Dolphins.
- Authorize a $3 million sales tax rebate for the team which already receives -- and would keep -- a $2 million rebate.
Ross, who issued an impassioned "Pledge to the Community," said if the deal goes through as he proposes, the Dolphins will remain in their Miami Gardens home for 25 years.
The Dolphins tried but failed in 2011 to get lawmakers to pass a $225 million bill to fund a stadium plan. The team likes this year's chances a little better since the economy and state finances have improved.
It’s main concern is public memory and lingering resentment of the $639 million taxpayers spent to build the Miami Marlins their new stadium. That infuriated taxpayers and, apparently, they haven't forgotten: