Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Ross announces plan to privately fund renovations


After having his requests for public financing for Sun Life Stadium renovations repeatedly nixed by the Florida state legislature, Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has announced that he plans to fund the project entirely himself.

South Florida's future as a host to the Super Bowl and perhaps other major events depends on these stadium upgrades, and Ross is displaying his commitment to restoring the region's competitiveness for Super Bowl bids.

"I have made clear I want the stadium modernized because it's right for our fans and it's right for Miami-Dade and South Florida," Ross said in a statement via the Dolphins' website. "I have decided the best way to get this done is to pay for the project with private funds."

"We haven’t won a Super Bowl bid in Miami-Dade in far too long, and we know that with the stadium as an issue, we never will unless it is modernized," Ross continued. "I am going to make the commitment and provide the resources because Miami deserves the economic benefits of a modernized stadium."

But for Ross, funding the project was about more than upgrading the facility he bought along with the team in 2008.

"I grew up here in Miami-Dade and have been part of this area for most of my life," he said. "I want to do this for the community that has done so much for me, and for this storied franchise that means so much to the people of South Florida."

Obstacles remain for the project, as Ross is requesting property tax benefits that, as he describes, "all franchises in the state of Florida" are granted.

If approved, Ross plans to begin renovating the venue after the Dolphins' 2014 season is over. The improvements, Ross says, will also help ensure the presence of professional football in South Florida for a long time.

"With this project, we can secure the future of the Dolphins in Miami-Dade for another 20 years," he said. "That is more important to me than anything else.”

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