A win for the counties NFL stadium: Camden Yards football complex will pay off handsomely for suburbs.

February 06, 1996

BUILDING A FOOTBALL stadium at Camden Yards isn't just a special project for the welfare of Baltimore City: the entire region ends up winning. That's why it is incumbent upon legislators representing the counties surrounding Baltimore to carefully study the direct and indirect benefits of this undertaking for their own subdivisions.

The stadium means jobs, both in the construction phase and once it begins operations. Some 4,600 workers will be employed over a three-year period to build the $200 million structure. Most of these construction workers will be county residents, paying county taxes on the pay checks from this project. Taxes from labor are estimated at over $10 million.

After the National Football League starts playing in the stadium, there are more long-term benefits for the counties. The Browns ownership and its administrative employees will live throughout the metropolitan region. Some of them earn six-figure salaries. Their taxes will go into state and county coffers.

Meanwhile, more than half the Browns players are expected to take up residence here, mostly in the suburbs. These are high-salaried stars, some earning over $1 million a year. They will own big homes -- and pay big real estate taxes -- in the counties. Their piggyback income tax dollars will go to the counties.

There's more good news for the Baltimore suburbs, too. The equipment, material and concession goods will be purchased from local vendors. That means millions more dollars for Baltimore-area suppliers. It means prosperity for many businesses in the region. Make no mistake: Suburban bars and restaurants will do big business the night prior to the games, RTC before and during the games and after the games. Remember how it was when the Colts were the center of our universe on Sunday afternoons in the fall and winter? That's the way it will be again in the city and in the counties.

Suburban lawmakers would be extraordinarily shortsighted to ignore the numerous benefits of investing in a football stadium at Camden Yards. For just $28 million in lottery seed money, Maryland can have a revenue-generator and job-producer that will help supplement county treasuries and give suburban sports fans something to cheer about.

If this region is to grow and prosper, it cannot turn its back on a project of this magnitude that holds so much potential for jobs and tax dollars. It is time for county legislators and county executives to step forward and support this stadium. The numbers make sense, both for county residents and for county coffers.

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