Mayor Cooper writes he won't spend tax dollars to fund new Titans stadium

Nissan Stadium titans
Posted at 4:36 PM, May 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-13 09:59:07-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Doing nothing is not an option about the Tennessee Titans stadium, at least according to an op-ed Mayor John Cooper wrote in The Tennessean.

Nearly two months ago, Cooper told NewsChannel 5 the Titans were the responsible party behind any renovations or new construction to their stadium. He clarified that Metro's priorities remain in education and creating safer streets and roads, not in building stadiums.

Most recently, a budget deal that allows the Titans bond and interest money to pay for a new stadium passed through the legislature. The $500 million package plus a $55 million interest payment for the deal passed both the House and Senate, despite debate from members in both chambers.

An enclosed stadium would cost between $1.9 to $2.2 billion at 1.7 million square feet. Construction would take 31 months, with the hope of completion for the 2026 NFL season.

"Right now, under the original lease, Nashville taxpayers are on the hook for tens of millions of dollars per year for stadium maintenance and improvements," Cooper wrote in the paper. "The lease obligates Nashville to provide a “first-class” stadium until 2038, an obligation that now means either renovating the current stadium or building a new stadium."

He added that a new plan that would prevent a new stadium from touching the Metro general fund, which provides money for schools, roads and government functionality.

"As a city, we are in a different place today than we were 26 years ago," he wrote. "Nashville voters made a smart bet by approving $144 million in sports authority bonds and general obligation bonds to build a stadium. Both Nashville and the entire state have benefited tremendously from having the Titans here, and now, we have the opportunity to expand those benefits by getting the city out of the stadium maintenance business."

While Cooper didn't spell out a concrete plan of what that looks in a tangible sense, he did provide a list of commitments to the city and its taxpayers, including not selling any East Bank land, raising taxes or spending public dollars.

"Tourists and spending around the stadium will pay for this project, not your family," he said.