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U.S. Bank Arena Won't Get County Tax Dollars

U.S. Bank Arena

The owners of U.S. Bank Arena last month announced renovation plans without identifying a cost or a funding source.  Arena officials said they were in talks with local government leaders. But two Hamilton County Commissioners say they won't support putting tax dollars toward the project.

Todd Portune says arena owners were counting heavily on getting the University of Cincinnati to play basketball there.

“With the decision by the Board of Trustees that those events now will take place on campus, where they should be in my opinion, answers that one element rather conclusively.”

On Tuesday, the University of Cincinnati closed the door on speculation the Bearcats could play basketball at U.S. Bank Arena by launching a fundraising campaign to renovate Fifth Third Arena.

Commissioner Chris Monzel also says UC's decision hurt the arena's chances.  “It’s a privately owned building,” he says.  It’s been that way for so many years. And for us, we already own two sports facilities. We’re not on the market to buy another one.”

Monzel adds there's not much the county can do to help land a large, permanent tenant.

“Given our lack of sales tax authority now, with half of it already going to two sports stadiums and a quarter of it going to Union Terminal,” Monzel says. “We only have a quarter left.  So there's really no wiggle room for us to go out there and say we’re going to pledge so much money to help a sports franchise come in here.”