Detroit's top 10 urban planning blunders (and 10 successes) 

Page 8 of 21

click to enlarge COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo

Blunder: Subsidized sports stadiums
Like most American stadiums, Detroit's major sporting venues have received public funding in one form or another. $86 million of Comerica Park's construction was funded by hotel and rental car tax increases; Ford Field received $80 million from several public agencies; and Little Caesars Arena was built partly with $324 million in publicly funded bonds—most of which will be repaid with downtown property taxes that otherwise would have been deposited to the state School Aid Fund. Such subsidies, our leaders assure us, are supposed to benefit local economies. But do the handouts ever deliver on their promises? Economics professors Dennis Coates and Brad Humphreys examined nearly 20 years of studies on the subject in 2008 and concluded that there is "almost no evidence that professional sports franchises and facilities have a measurable economic impact on the economy."


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