|- Rendering showing what a renovated U.S. Bank Arena might look like while hosting a basketball game. Renovations to the aging arena are one of two stadium efforts currently underway in Cincinnati. Image via MSA Architects.|
It’s been just over 21 years since Hamilton County residents voted in favor of raising the sales tax and building two new sports facilities. The Bengals of the NFL moved into Paul Brown Stadium in 1999, while MLB’s Reds opened Great American Ballpark in 2003. The old, shared stadium sitting between the two new ones was demolished and in its place a new housing, office, and entertainment development known as The Banks rose. Not only were there new stadiums and new buildings, but the highway was completely redone and a gorgeous new riverfront park opened (with new phases still being rolled out). Despite once having overwhelming public support and ushering in development that completely transformed the city’s riverfront, the “stadium vote” isn’t remembered fondly. That’s particularly due to the onerous lease negotiated by Hamilton County officials and The Bengals after the tax increase was approved. The whole situation has been the subject of New York Times pieces and John Oliver bits, frequently pointed out as the prime example when arguing against governments funding stadiums for millionaires. Today, two decades later, there’s a chance that more sports venues may be built in the city. The discussion surrounding them has been has been heated and controversial, often stoked by shoddy reporting and some historical revisionism. So here’s another take on these proposed new stadiums, one that keeps the city’s history in mind.