As mayor of Arlington, Texas, a beautiful city in the middle of Dallas and Fort Worth, my goal is to uncover new opportunities that will benefit the nearly 400,000 residents who live here. When the Dallas Cowboys, one of the top sports brands in the world, approached me about possibly building a football stadium in Arlington, our city leaders presented this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to the voters and other stakeholders, and they responded favorably.Let me be honest – it was a tough sell. But voters understood the economic benefits a new stadium could generate for our city. In 2004, voters approved a sales tax increase to subsidize a 30-year, $325 million bond package designed to help pay for a new stadium for the Dallas Cowboys.
We also used eminent domain as a last resort to assemble the needed land. The process was painful, but it was necessary. The city of Arlington was fair, providing benefits and a moving allowance. Each owner occupied single family resident was offered $22,500 plus moving expenses in addition to the fair market value of the property and commercial property owners were offered $10,000 in addition to the fair market value of the property. Residential and multi-family tenants received $5,250 per household plus moving expenses while commercial tenants received $10,000 plus moving expenses.
The stadium’s opening has been one of the greatest economic drivers for our city, providing thousands of jobs and an expanding sales tax revenue. If you combine this new revenue stream with the $500,000 expected annually from the Cowboys’ new naming rights deal with AT&T then Arlington is on pace to pay off the stadium ten years earlier than anticipated.
Typically, cities do not receive revenue from naming rights deals. However, I worked with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to ensure Arlington’s partnership with the club would be mutually beneficial.
People from across the globe come to Arlington to visit the stadium, which has already hosted a Super Bowl, the Cotton Bowl and concerts, and is preparing to host the 2014 NCAA Men’s Final Four. In 2015, the AT&T Stadium will host the NCAA’s first college football playoff. We expect more than 100,000 people to shop, eat and stay in the Arlington area for this monumental event.
Besides the AT&T Stadium, Arlington is home to Six Flags Over Texas, the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, great shopping, restaurants and other tourist attractions.
Dr. Robert Cluck, M.D., was elected to the office of mayor of the city of Arlington in May, 2003, after serving two terms on the City Council. Cluck also serves as the vice president for medical affairs at Arlington Memorial Hospital.