Comptroller raises concerns over public money for Scottrade Center upgrades

St. Louis Comptroller Darlene Green is raising concerns about a proposal from the St. Louis Blues and Mayor Francis Slay’s office to use city money for upgrades at Scottrade Center.

The Blues, along with Slay and Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed, unveiled a multimillion-dollar public spending plan for Scottrade Center upgrades last week. Under the plan, the city would issue bonds, which would be paid back over 28 years using revenue from a Community Improvement District and taxes generated at the arena site. The city will pay $4 million annually until 2048, or about $112 million in all.

In a letter sent to staff on Thursday, Green said she was ready to support economic incentives for upgrades to the Scottrade Center but that using “current budget revenues reduces available funding for public safety and delivery of essential city services.”

Green said development tools like a community improvement district, transportation development district and other tools would be more appropriate.

The Blues say the Scottrade Center drives $132 million in “direct spending” each year, and that it generates $14 million in taxes annually, with $6 million going to the city of St. Louis, which owns the arena. Its events also generate 55,000 hotel room night stays each year, which could increase to 75,000 if a renovation of the facility is completed, Blues owner Tom Stillman said Jan. 3.

Read more: St. Louis Business Journal

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