City Council to vote on stadium deal Monday - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

City Council approves plan to help finance Panthers stadium

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

The City of Charlotte approved a plan to pay for payments for upgrades to Bank of America Stadium.

And The Charlotte Chamber of Commerce is mobilizing - getting business leaders and owners to wear Carolina Panthers' colors at the meeting when city council members vote on the proposal.

Natalie English with the Chamber says they want council members to see that businesses are serious about wanting to keep the Panthers in the Queen City.

"They're a part of our economic development package when we're talking to companies about expanding or relocating. The Panthers, our arts and culture facilities, tax rates, housing stock - it's all a part of the package and people like living in a city with an NFL team."

The Chamber has been running a social media campaign to galvanize support for the proposal.

The payment plan passed a major hurdle last week with the endorsement of Charlotte's Economic Development Committee.

By current league standards, Bank of America Stadium is the 25th oldest place to play in the NFL.

In developing a new stadium funding model with public and private dollars, Assistant City Manager Ron Kibbles said keeping the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte comes down to one simple word…tethering.

"Tethering, binding the team to Charlotte is a must at this time," Kimble said.

Tethering from the city council at this point doesn't include all of the bells, whistles and dollars.

The current amount of projected upgrades is estimated to cost just over $147 million.

$87 million of that comes from taxes earmarked for convention center funds and the team picks up the remaining $60 million.

Panther's President Danny Morrison was in on the presentation and spells out physical changes are on the way at the end of the 2013 season.

"We're focused on the escalator project, "he said." We're focused on the video boards, the ribbon boards, and the technology side so that's really our emphasis at this point.

Side line organizations like Center City Partners feel the so called tether is manageable.

Michael Smith is the President of Charlotte City Partners.

He said, "Everyone at table wishes that there were more resources to extend that tether longer, but this is a good investment for our money."

The agreement gives the team a six year hard tether not initial the 15 year proposal.

However, the team could face a number of financial penalties between years six and 10 if they decide to relocate.

Supporters contend that it keeps the team here, since number cities have expressed interest in moving the Panthers.

So it's not just Los Angeles. There are others, and they are seeking relocation of existing teams," Kimble said.

Monday Night may not be the end of the line for negotiations.

City leaders are hinting about approaching the state again for additional money.

The proposed agreement keeps the Belk Bowl in town and gives the city four free events at B of A stadium in the off season.

Copyright 2013 WBTV. All rights reserved.

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