According to a report from the Waco Trib this morning ($$$), the Waco Tax Increment Financing (TIF) board and City Council will vote Wednesday on whether to contribute $35 million over the next ten years to Baylor's new on-campus football stadium. The article quotes Waco City Manager Larry Groth as saying that the contribution would be the bigges economic development incentive in the history of the Waco area. Mayor Malcolm Duncan, Jr. believes that there is tremendous community support for the project, which could cost as much as $250 million and help revitalize the area around the proposed building site across the Brazos River from the main Baylor campus. There has been numerous reports lately that key developers are interested in bringing significant new money into the downtown Waco area as soon as the groundbreaking for the stadium, rumored to be scheduled for next month, occurs.
From the article:
The TIF fund would give Baylor the $35 million during 10 years, starting with $8 million this year and $3 million a year until 2022.
The money would help cover infrastructure costs such as relocating sewer and electric transmission lines, dredging the new marina, building a pedestrian bridge across the Brazos River and landscaping the site. The money also could fund a section of concrete trail along the east bank of the Brazos River.
The potential economic benefits for Waco of a new Baylor football stadium will certainly require decisionmakers to take a long look at supporting the project, and Baylor would obviously accept any help offered, but the fact that Waco is considering it at all is fairly incredible to me due to the often contentious relations between the two groups. I know that when I was there in the middle 2000s, that relationship was still on the mend with significant work left to be done. It was always in both sides' best interests to work together, but things didn't always turn out that way in practice. I'm glad to see that tide turning, and this contribution could be the most significant step in that direction ever.
I'll update this post as any more information becomes available, but it looks like tomorrow could be a really good day for Baylor's hopes for a new on-campus home for its football program.